Wellingborough Council has condemned the ‘mindless and dangerous vandalism’ after a number of fires were started deliberately in the town’s Castle Fields park.
Wheelie bins full of leaves, twigs and grass cuttings were taken to the park and set on fire with the help of disposable barbeque packs. The bins had been placed next to the changing room block before being set alight.
The vandalism was discovered last Tuesday morning by a group of volunteers who regularly litter pick the park. Wellingborough Norse, the company that carries out environmental services for the council, immediately sent a team to clear up the mess and assess the damage.
Councillor Peter Morrall, chairman of the council's Community Committee said: "This is mindless and dangerous vandalism that could have had devastating results. It appears that the bins were deliberately taken to the park and pushed up against the changing room wall. We can only assume the aim was to cause as much damage as possible. We know in Wellingborough from bitter experience that deliberate fires can be fatal, and in this case it's just luck that the whole building didn't catch fire.
"The Castle Fields area has a very strong community supporting it, particularly since the bandstand in the park was restored, and I've no doubt that the community will pull together and work with us to stamp out vandalism. I would urge anyone with any information about the fires to contact the police."
Wellingborough Council regularly teams up with the police, the arson task force and local school and community groups to raise awareness of the damage that can be caused by wheelie bin fires. In 2007, three-year-old Callum Bland was killed when a fire started in a wheelie bin swept through his home in Fulmar Lane.
Councillor Morrall added: "There is absolutely no excuse for starting fires like these, but we'd also like to make sure that there is no opportunity for the arsonists to commit the offence in the first place. We would ask residents that wherever possible their bins are only put out on the street on the day of collection, and they take them in as soon as they can after they've been emptied."
Anyone with information about the fires in Castle Fields park should contact the police on 101.