Vandals strike again snapping sapling planted in memory of war dead

Chairman of the Friends of the Memorial Park in Fleetwood Les Fletcher is furious after another bout of vandalism

Chairman of the Friends of the Memorial Park in Fleetwood Les Fletcher is furious after another bout of vandalism

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Calls have been made to lock the gates of Fleetwood’s Memorial Park at night and upgrade railings after yobs targeted another tree planted in honour of the town’s war heroes.

The destruction of a young sapling, which was snapped in two, comes after five of the memorial trees were targeted by vandals last summer.

The yobs also caused damage to a concrete block where a bench was installed, forcing it to be removed by council staff.

Now the Friends of the Memorial Park have called for the park, which has been the subject of £2.4 restoration project, to be properly fenced off and locked at night.

The group say the latest episode, which occurred last Wednesday night, shows that the park needs to be protected during the late hours when most vandalism occurs.

They say it one of a string of incidents, including the theft of flowers.

Les Fletcher, chairman of the Friends, said: “We have had £2.4m spent on the park, so surely it makes sense to spend a little extra and protect it.

“We have been calling for the park to be fully fenced of and locked at night for years.

“When I was growing up it was always locked after a certain time in the evening, The park warden would sound his horn and everyone had to leave.

“If someone was found to be still in the park, it was assumed they were up to no good and the police would be called.

“We would like to see the metal fencing on the Park Avenue side put all the way around so it is totally fenced off.

“Things get even worse in the warm summer months so the council needs to consider it seriously.”

Wyre Council’s work to restore the park was launched two years ago after it secured £2.4m in funding from the Heritage and Big Lottery Funds, with help from the Friends of Memorial Park.

Improvements include the restoration of the war memorial, entrances, pond, pathways and pavilion and a greater range of sports and play facilities.

Coun Ruth Duffy, who represents Mount ward on the council, said: “It’s always a minority that ruin it for the others.”

Fleetwood police said after the latest incident: “We’ve had a recent report of criminal damage on Memorial Park, Fleetwood, where an offender targeted a new bench and snapped a tree.

“The Memorial Park has recently had major improvements. This behaviour is unacceptable.”

Call police on 101.