Play areas vandalised in Essex

Mums have been telling Heart vandalism to play areas in Essex puts them off taking their children along.

In the last month, thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused to four new play areas in Thurrock.

Balstonia in Corringham was targeted by arsonists twice in September.

High House in Purfleet, Delafield Park in Little Thurrock and the play area at Aluric Close in Chadwell have all been vandalised as well.

Graffiti, broken bottles, equipment set on fire - just some of the reasons parents say they don't take their kids to local play parks as often as they'd like to.

Councillor Val Morris-Cook's so angry about the vandalism, she's now putting up a reward of £250 - to be matched by the council - if information given to police to catch those responsible leads to a conviction.

Cllr Morris-Cook said: "The thoughtless idiotic morons who perhaps got a moment's so-called pleasure doing this have destroyed months of hard work and years of fun for children.

The council worked with local organisations, schools and young people themselves to find out what they wanted to see at their play areas and now much of that effort has been devastated.

We don't know if the attacks are linked, but we are working closely with teh police to investigate to the fullist possible degree - I want these vandals brought to justice and made to see and understand exactly what they have done".