Police condemn vandals who started fire in Ponteland Park resulting in £20k of damage

Damage to Ponteland Park could cost more than £20,000 to fix, with police asking for any relevant information

Police have condemned the actions of vandals who started a fire at Ponteland Park and caused £20,000 worth of damage.

An investigation has been launched after offenders set a blaze on the jetty and walkway, completely destroying it, before making off from the scene.

The damage committed to the lake, which is believed to have taken place between 12:30pm and 1:20pm on August 1, was so severe the section of the park had to be cordoned off from the public.

Replacing both the jetty and the walkway is expected to have a significant financial cost.

An investigation has been launched to identify those responsible, with officers working closely with Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service.

Officers have warned that anybody found to have been involved will be dealt with appropriately.

Northumberland Police are asking anyone with information relating to the fire to contact them

Inspector Garry Neill, of Northumbria Police, said: “It is always incredibly disappointing to see damage of this kind which has understandably caused distress and anguish within the local community.

“The mindless actions of a few have resulted in significant damage – and their selfish behaviour now means that a section of the park cannot be enjoyed by families during the summer holidays.

“We are committed to identifying those responsible and they can expect a knock at their door very soon. Enquiries are ongoing with the fire service and we are committed to bringing effective justice against those responsible.

“I would like to thank the wider public for their support and cooperation at this time, and we will use every tactic available to us in order to find those responsible for the fire.”

Graeme Wright, Team Leader for the Community Safety Department at Northumberland Fire & Rescue, added: "Outdoor fires account for over 29 per cent of incidents that we attend, with 75 per cent of these being started deliberately.

"Whilst the risk of injury from outdoor fires remains low, the financial and environmental impacts associated with these types of incidents remain extremely high, as is evident by the damage caused at Ponteland Park.

"Dealing with incidents of outdoor fires, where these have been caused deliberately, directs our time and resources away from attending more serious incidents should they occur.

"We are supporting Northumbria Police in their investigation and recommend any member of the public who has information to come forward and assist us."

Officers are now appealing to the public for any information that may be of interest to the investigation.

Police are asking shop owners in the area who believe they sold accelerants before the fire to come forward and for members of the public in the area at the time to check vehicle CCTV.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of their website or by calling 101 quoting crime number 090048L/22.