CHILDREN have been left devastated after their playground was closed after an arson attack.
Part of the Adventure Junk Playground in Plas Madoc – known as “The Land” – was ravaged by a fire this weekend.
Its management have been forced to close the playground’s doors indefinitely due to safety concerns resulting from the deliberate blaze.
The playground is run by the Association of Voluntary Organisations Wrexham (AVOW) and playground manager Claire Griffiths said she was shocked when she heard the park had been set on fire.
She said: “We had been open in the afternoon here on Saturday and then at 3pm we left to go to run a play scheme in Cefn Mawr.
“While we were out I got the call about the fire and I was absolutely devastated.
“But it was worse when the children turned up wanting to play like they usually do.
“We had to tell them it was closed and they were totally gutted.
“It is very upsetting that an incident such as this has occurred.
“Nothing similar has ever happened before.
“Our main aim is the safety of children and we are pleased that there have been no injuries. But the park will be closed until it is made safe again and we don’t know yet how long that will take.”
The Land has developed a large following since it opened two years ago. Only this week it was dubbed “the strangest playground on earth’ by an Australian news channel and last month it was selected as one of the top 10 open Adventure Playgrounds in the UK by the Sport and Recreation Alliance.
North Wales Fire and Rescue said the fire was started deliberately and that there was considerable damage.
Miss Griffiths said: “The shed at the back has gone, as well as our office.
“Those areas have been totally destroyed and we have been told we can’t salvage any of it.
“After all the hard work we have put it in is just devastating.
“But we will rise and we won’t let this get us down.
“We don’t know how long it will take for us to reopen, but we will be back.
“While the playground is closed we shall be running street play sessions with the children on the area to ensure they don’t lose out as a result of the actions of a few individuals.
“We would also like to thank the local residents who acted promptly in calling the fire service preventing any further damage.”
North Wales Police PCSO Tom Dewberry said: “We are making CCTV inquiries and knocking on doors.
“We have suspects in mind, but are working with Communities First and residents to safeguard it. We are treating it as arson.”
Any parents wanting to know anything about play facilities in Plas Madoc while the park is closed are urged to contact the playgrounds’ management team on 07976509817.