South Holland Police have issued a plea after a weekend where vandals desecrated a Long Sutton war memorial and damaged play equipment in Pinchbeck while parents have been breaking lockdown rules in Holbeach.
Eleven trees were broken or dug up, the memorial plaque was thrown on the ground and the fence was damaged in Winfrey Park, Long Sutton.
There have also been problems with fly tipping, while dog owners have been leaving waste on top of the sealed bins in the park in Bull Lane.
The parish council is now questioning whether spending any more public money on the park is the right thing to do.
A spokesman said: “We are extremely disappointed to find the World War One memorial tree planting has been desecrated by mindless youths who seem to have no respect for anything or anyone.
“Several of the cherry trees planted at the 100 year anniversary memorial of World War One have been broken and one dug up and taken away.
“The memorial sign depicting the anniversary was just thrown to the floor and the fence damaged.
“All involved should be ashamed and should take onboard that many of the men who died in World War One were teenagers and because of their sacrifices the youngsters causing the damage enjoy the freedoms they have now.
“There has also been damage to property belonging to Long Sutton in Bloom, a local volunteer group who work tirelessly to brighten up the town.
“There have been reports of red mopeds riding around the park in Bull Lane and gatherings involving alcohol and other substances with no regard to social distancing and no respect for others in the park who receive abuse.
“The issues have again been reported to the police.
“Unfortunately the park is difficult to secure due to the open boundaries but we may have to look at security measures in future.
“Long Sutton is lucky to have such lovely park areas and it is a shame they are being treated in this way.”
The Parish Council has spent £12,000 on a trim trail and £11,000 on an outdoor gym but says it will now have to consider if it is worth spending any more public funds providing equipment.
In Pinchbeck, vandals targeted play equipment in Rotten Row playing field.
The person who posted the damage on Pinchbeck Village News’ Facebook page said: “How unfair is this on kids playing in the Rotten Row park as vandalising the climbing frame is dangerous? I took my little siblings to the park today and one of them slipped into the hole and hurt their legs luckily they were ok but that’s not the point.”
Parish council clerk Barbara Camps commented: “Been and had a look and it has been well and truly vandalised.
“A number of parents were there with children using the play equipment, particularly swings and slide.
“Shall get the vandalised loose components removed from the field tomorrow. Would just add that many parts of the fort are not the original pieces. Many have been replaced over the years. We did have a fire in the field a couple of nights ago at approximately 10pm. Lots of noise coming from a number of young people. No social distancing. Police were called out.”
There have also been reports of people climbing over the railings to get to the play equipment in Carter’s Park in Holbeach.
One poster on Facebook page Spotted Holbeach said on Saturday adults had ripped all the tape off the play equipment and climbed over the fence so their kids could play on the swings and run around.
She said: “Confusing for my little one when he can’t play in there but saw other kids playing in there. It’s tapped off for a reason!”
“As soon as they saw me they climbed back over the fence so they know what they are doing is wrong!”
Another user reported seeing the same. She said: “When we biked through kids playing and my five year old said ‘why can’t I?’ So I very loudly explained to her that the people playing there were being very naughty and most likely have or get corona! She understood and said I don’t want to play there then! Lots of inconsiderate idiots about that only see to the end of their noses!”
Another mum said her little one was also upset. She said: “My 2.5 year old had such a tantrum earlier when we walked through, every other person playing like nothing had ever gone on, even parents having a good old play. I had to practically carry her away. Leave them be, they’ll soon be regretting it if and when they catch it.”
Another Facebook user said there is the same problem in Whaplode.
She said: “Our playground in Whaplode is chained shut but parents still lift their children over the railing and tell them to go and play. Are they ignorant, inconsiderate or just plain stupid? I don’t know. I think we have to let the idiots do their thing and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”
South Holland Police, said: “We are seeing large groups of youngsters congregating in parks across South Holland. Some of these groups have been well into double figures contrary to the current government restrictions.
“A minority have also been involved in causing criminal damage and anti-social behavior.
“Officers will be patrolling these parks and open spaces and perpetrators can expect to be dealt with through the criminal process or with ASB legislation.
“There are still strict Covid restrictions in place and parents and guardians are reminded that where under 18s are in breach of restrictions then parents and guardians are liable for the fine.
“Where appropriate we will also refer the matter to social services.”