Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Enchanted wood destroyed by vandals

An enchanted wood which was created in Kirkleatham Woods in Redcar, by Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Prince’s Trust team has been wrecked by vandals just hours after it was opened.

The Brigade’s Princes Trust team has been working hard for 5 weeks with local schools, colleges and a local sculptor to create an enchanted wood in Kirkleatham Woods, which is managed by Redcar and Cleveland Council's countryside section, for the public to enjoy. The grand opening took place on Friday 24 November only to be vandalised later that evening.

The team had raised money through various fundraising activities including a talent contest and raffle and they were also given a grant from the National Lottery. The total cost to create the area was over £4000.

Metal posts which guided you through the specially created area have been ripped out from the concrete, which kept them in place, some of which have been stolen. Animals which were specially made have also been ripped away and stolen as well as graffiti on the benches which were custom made.

Karen Duncan, Prince’s Trust Team Leader said: “The team and I are devastated that vandals have come along and destroyed all the hard work we have put in over the past few weeks. This was meant to be a place for people to enjoy and I am disgusted that anyone would want to come along and wreck it.

“The animals that were specially created by youths at a local engagement programme called Fairbridge been stolen, we have found some of the metal posts that guide you through the area so we will be able to put them back in place. There was also empty beer cans and cider bottles all over as well as other litter and graffiti.

“We have reported this act of vandalism to Cleveland Police and are now looking at the cost of restoring the enchanted wood.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed they had received a report of vandalism in Kirkleatham Woods, she said: “We are keen for anyone with information to come forward and tell us who was responsible for the damage caused. This new community facility had been created after a lot of hard work by local children and young people and it’s devastating to see it ruined so soon after opening. Anyone with information should contact Cleveland police on 01642 326326 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111”

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Cabinet Member for Rural Affairs Councillor Graham Jeffery said: "I'm absolutely disgusted - this is a crime against the people who use the wood and the people who have worked hard to create it. The Police take this type of crime very seriously and have a number of ongoing operations to tackle this problem throughout the Borough."

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