Mindless vandals set fires

ACT OF STUPIDITY: Clarence Valley Council outdoor staff member Rob McLennan cleaning up the mess after vandals set fire to play equipment in Bob Liddiard Park, South Grafton on Sunday night. Photo Tim Howard
ACT OF STUPIDITY: Clarence Valley Council outdoor staff member Rob McLennan cleaning up the mess after vandals set fire to play equipment in Bob Liddiard Park, South Grafton on Sunday night. Photo Tim Howard

MORE senseless vandalism to a much used and loved park in South Grafton has residents shaking their heads yet again.

On Sunday night a group of young people lit a fire under the slippery dip in Bob Liddiard Park scorching the surface, but leaving the steel structure largely undamaged.

Yesterday Clarence Valley Council staff were at the park cleaning up the mess.

"Residents told us after the fire was lit another guy came out with a cupboard and threw that on the fire," said outdoor staff member Rob McLennan.

Parents and children attending the nearby Camellia Cottage playgroup were forced to miss their session on the equipment yesterday as council staff cleaned up the charred mess.

The playground bears the scars of previous vandal attacks.

"You can see a hole where they dragged a wheelie bin on there and set it alight, and another one where a mattress was brought here and burnt," Mr McLennan said.

Camellia Cottage has also been a target for attacks from groups of bored young people. The main target of the attacks has been the four surveillance cameras of the cameras, two of which have been damaged.

A volunteer worker at the Cottage said the cameras had captured the images of their attackers.

"That's why they go after them," the volunteer worker said.

She said there was a problem with young people causing trouble in the neighbourhood.

Police said there was another deliberately lit fire in South Grafton early on Monday morning.

Coffs Clarence crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said there was a blaze at the disused service station on the Pacific Highway.

"The fire got into the roof and there was quite a bit of damage," he said.

Det Insp Jameson agreed there was a problem and put it back to drug use in the area, including the use of ice.

"Drugs and alcohol continue to be an issue in the command," he said.

"It's a cultural effect of the idea that the use of drugs and excessive consumption of alcohol is acceptable. This underpins most of the crimes that occur in the command."

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