ARSONISTS have totally destroyed a newly-built nature platform at Briercliffe recreational park.

Police said that someone set it alight yesterday (April 12) between 7pm and 9.30pm.

Thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused to the viewing stand which had been built with funding the Briercliffe Parish Council had secured.

The stand was built with the sole purpose for people to enjoy the view it offered over the Thursden Valley and beyond but it is now burnt to the ground. 

Cllr Pamela Vincent, vice chairman of the parish council, said: "I'm shocked an angry as this platform was built for the people of Briercliffe.

"I'm grateful to the community for the support they've given since this happened."

Cllr Vincent said the viewing platform, which people had been using for around two months, was built as part of a bigger project over more than two years to improve the pathways around the nearby woods. 

The project has seen the pathways improved while there are also plans for a picnic area and information signs about the wildlife to be put up in the area. 

Around £30,000 had been secured for the project, including £24,000 funding from the Lancashire environmental fund, about £3,000 from Burnley Council and a contribution by the parish council. 

She added: "The pathway had been raised to be level with the platform and provide access for disabled people and those in prams.

"So it's really devastating what's happened."

Councillor Gordon Lishman, who represents the area on Burnley Council, described it as a 'waste'. 

Cllr Lishman said: "People have taken advantage of a newly-built viewing stand.

"It's just a waste as we have a lot of wildlife photographers in Briercliffe who would have enjoyed this.

"We do have problems with quite a lot of young children who are allowed out unsupervised and creating problems, so it wouldn't surprise me if that's who has done it."

Ann Smith, a dog walker from Briercliffe, added: "It's only been in there for about six months - this is absolutely mindless."

Police have now launched an appeal for witnesses to the incident.

A police spokesman said: "Someone has set fire to a newly built viewing stand at Briercliffe recreational park.

"The viewing stand itself has been totally destroyed and was built for the sole purpose for the public to enjoy the view it encompassed.

"The approximate value of damage is in it thousands and was built with funding that the local parish council kindly secured for the residents of Briercliffe.

"Were you in the area at the time and did you see anyone acting suspiciously or do you know any information that may assist Police in this investigation?

Anyone with information should contact PC Healey on 6215@LANCASHIRE.PNN.POLICE.UK or phone police on 101 quoting incident number LC-20190412-1593