A PLAYGROUND had to be closed after vandals went on the rampage.

The play area on Higher Common, Buckley was closed off after a dog waste bin was torched late on Saturday night, leaving dog mess strewn across the site.

Another rubbish bin was also set on fire and damage was caused to the soft matting area at the bottom of a slide.

Buckley Pentrobin councillor Mike Peers said: “This was totally irresponsible and completely unacceptable.

“It has been very sad to see people with children unable to use the playground because of this.”

Flintshire Council has closed off the site while the mess is cleared up.

Buckley councillor Dennis Hutchinson, who is also executive member for environment, said: “I will be calling for a strong police presence to try to deal with the problem.

“We will be doing everything possible to stop the people who are doing this.

“I would like to thank Flintshire Council for reacting very promptly and helping deal with the situation.”

His wife, town councillor Jeannie Hutchinson, regularly takes her grandchildren to the playground.

She said: “Our grandchildren love going there.

“I cannot believe what we saw there over the weekend. It was awful.”

The play area has enjoyed an expensive refurbishment in recent years, but users of the park and nearby residents yesterday told the Leader there has been an ongoing problem with youngsters congregating at night and drinking.

Sgt Steve Arnold from North Wales Police said they were determined to crack down on such incidents and offenders had already been identified.

He said: “A local 19-year-old has already received a penalty ticket and another 17- year-old will be issued with one later this week.

“We are stepping up patrols and officers from the neighbourhood policing team will be out and about this weekend to reassure the public that we will not put up with this sort of anti-social behaviour.”

A spokeswoman for Flintshire Council said officers were continuing to work at the site yesterday to make it safe for the public to use.