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Vandals destroy soft tarmac flooring at a play area in Balmoral Gardens, Gillingham

By Clare Freeman

Heartless vandals have destroyed a children’s play park, and witnesses believe the vandals may only be children themselves.

The play area at Balmoral Gardens was closed on April 24 after the soft tarmac was pulled up, leaving massive holes in the flooring.

The play area at Balmoral Gardens is closed

The damage is believed to have taken place on Tuesday April 15 but parents say that vandalism is an ongoing problem in the park.

Lindsey Pearman, 22, was walking by the park with her partner and two young children at around 4pm when she saw between six to eight children, aged between 12 and 15 damaging the floor.

Witnesses said the vandals were children aged 12 to 15

She said: “Some of the kids were picking bits of the tarmac up and chucking it at one another to the point they almost hit my five month old son.

“Some were digging up more of the tarmac by using the wheels of the bikes.

“A fair few people witnessed what went on. They were literally children that vandalised the park. Childish little immature children who think vandalising is fun.”

Witnesses said the children were throwing the tarmac at each other

Miss Pearman said that her children, Ella-May, two, and five-month-old Joshua are too young to use the park at the moment, but will use it when they are older as they live nearby.

The flooring in the park is a special tarmac designed to be used around playground equipment to provide a hard wearing but soft, safe area for children to play on.

The area under the boat has been boarded up

Another parent said she saw a young girl digging at the tarmac at 9.15am on Good Friday.

Ms Janet White, 48, from Gillingham said: “I was cutting through the area on my way to Chatham with my daughter and saw a young girl, about eight years old, with shoulder-length blonde hair digging at the ground with a small stick.

“A boy, who must have been the same age, with brown hair was saying “no no no” and patting it back down.”

The repairs were completed and the park reopened on Wednesday.

One resident said children are no longer being taken to the gardens because of the anti social behaviour

A council spokesman said: “Balmoral Gardens play area was closed on 24 April when severe vandalism was reported to us. The safe surface of the play area was particularly badly damaged.

Witnesses to this incident and anyone with information about possible suspects are encouraged to contact PC David Ashley at Kent Police by calling 01634 792421 as they might have information that could help police with their enquiries.

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