Residents shocked after yobs torch play equipment in Liversedge park

Residents have been left shocked and angry after yobs torched play equipment in a Liversedge park.

By Martin Shaw
Friday, 15th October 2021, 7:00 am
The play equipment on fire
The play equipment on fire

It is thought a gang of youths using petrol or lighter fluid set fire to a slide and climbing frame on Firthcliffe Rec on the Firthcliffe Estate.

The playground has rubber matting and pictures show the play equipment engulfed in flames. A thick plume of black smoke could be seen for miles around.

The fire happened early on Tuesday evening and even though the rec is surrounded by houses no residents have come forward to say they saw what happened.

The aftermath of the blaze

Residents had campaigned for the new playground and Kirklees Council installed the equipment less than two years ago.

Tracey King, chairperson of the Firthcliffe Estate Tenants and Residents’ Association, said: “It’s devastating and we can’t believe this has happened.

“We are still trying to piece together what happened but petrol or lighter fluid was definitely used. We are assuming it's youths but we don’t know how many.

“I thought the play equipment was just made of metal but there’s a lot of rubber matting too and that’s what must have caused all the flames and smoke. It’s lucky the trees didn’t catch fire too.

“We thought at first somebody had video footage but that’s proved to be something different.”

Liversedge and Gomersal Tory councillor Lisa Holmes, who campaigned for the play equipment, is urging residents with information to come forward, and the office of Batley and Spen Labour MP Kim Leadbeater has also been in touch with Tracey.

There have been reports of anti-social behaviour in the area with yobs throwing stones at cars from the bridge on Listing Lane.

Tracey, whose Chill & Chat café in Heckmondwike runs teen sessions, added: “Some people are saying it’s because there’s nothing for young people to do.

“But we know there are some groups of youths who just don’t care and will terrorise and destroy and wouldn’t take part in any activities.”

There are no community facilities on the estate and Tracey said she had hoped to get a portable building but now feared it might become a target.

Coun Holmes said she wanted to bring those responsible to justice and told residents: “You all deserve to live in peace without your area being destroyed like this.”