Children’s BMX track has closed after site trashed

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

A COMMUNITY BMX track has closed less than six months after it opened following a spate of attacks.

The community council which runs the popular Penycae play site says it has been completely destroyed and they cannot afford the thousands of pounds to repair it.

Vandals first struck at the track, near Afoneitha playing fields, the day after it opened in April when the heavy ‘bunny hop jump’ was torn from the ground.

Since then there have been at least five more incidents in which BMX jumps, picnic tables and bins have been burnt or smashed.

The final straw came when, almost every night last week, the yobs returned to wreak havoc in and around the track.

Susan Hallard, clerk of Penycae Community Council which runs it, said: “The track has been destroyed completely.

“There was an incident there on most nights last week so the fire brigade and police were called.

“The four BMX jumps, which are made of a recycled plastic material, were burnt and they also set fire to the picnic tables and benches, burning them right down to the metal.

“The majority of the tyres we had for safety reasons around the edge of the track were also burned one by one.

“Our first priority is to have the area made safe but we just can’t afford to have it all repaired and I think we’re going to have to close it down.

“The whole thing cost about £11,000, which we got from grants and our own fundraising, and we just don’t have that sort of money to spend again.

“It was insured but only for public liability and not damage like this.”

She added: “All this is very sad because the younger children loved riding their bikes on the track.

“It’s awful to think that other people who must live in this area could have done this.

“Youngsters complain they have nothing to do around here but when you provide them with something all they can do is destroy it.

“It is almost as if whoever did this was competing with each other to see who could do the most damage.”

A spokesman for North Wales Police confirmed there had been a number of incidents of arson and criminal damage at the track last week.

One of these had been at 8.38pm on Friday when there were reports a deliberate fire had been started affecting the skateboard ramp and tyres at the side of the track.

“The local PCSO is making follow-up enquiries,” he added.

See full story in the Leader

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