INCREASED numbers of police officers have been deployed in and around a town centre after £10,000 worth of damage was caused to public playgrounds and facilities.

Vandals have struck at three play areas in Colne over the last week, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage as well as considerable damage to the town’s bowling green in Alkincoates Park.

As a result of the damage, one park has been forced to close and increased numbers of officers will be deployed in a bid to find those responsible for the damage.

Colne Town Council’s Town Clerk, Naomi Crewe, said: “I am appalled at the damage inflicted on our playgrounds. To put this in perspective, £10,000 is the equivalent of the 176 average Colne households’ annual precept payment – or the collective annual payments of one of the town’s prominent roads. What a total waste of money.”

The damage at King George V Playground is to the rubberised ground covering which has been sliced and pulled up and was being thrown around by the youths involves. This playground has now had to be closed until an improvement project can start at the end of the month.

At the Waterside play areas, one had had more than 30 support posts ripped out and snapped making it unsafe to be used. The Waterside playground has also had the zipwire seat pulled off.

The damage to the Philip Wright Crown Green Bowling Academy Green was caused by children taking rocks out of the rockery and throwing them repeatedly onto the green. This incident was caught on CCTV and this matter is being taken forward by the Police.

Ms Crewe added: “We do not want to be forced to close any playgrounds especially with the upcoming playground development project starting at the end of the month which is seeing Colne Town Council investing over £190,000 into these wonderful facilities within Colne, but the truth is we cannot continue to bear this level of expenditure at a time of constrained budgets.

“We are asking that people take photographs if they see vandalism taking place and report any damage to the Police immediately, so the Police can attempt to catch the perpetrators and renumeration can be made. The number to call is 01282 861888 or email