VANDALS have wrecked equipment at a play area in the grounds of an ancient monument.

The damage to the apparatus at Clitheroe Castle is valued at £3,000.

It is the second time the Grade-I listed 12th century monument has been hit by vandals after its historic keep was sprayed with graffiti in November.

Also in 2020 the barrier to a disabled car park on the Edisford river bank - a popular Clitheroe beauty spot - was wrecked twice in six months.

The latest attack has left Ribble Valley Council, owners of both the castle and the car park, with bills for repairs running into thousands of pounds in less than 12 months.

Council workers discovered the vandalism at the play area, including the complete removal of one piece of equipment, on Monday.

Council workers are carefully sifting through weekend CCTV footage of the site for evidence to track down the culprits.

Ricky Newmark, chairman of Ribble Valley Council’s community committee, said: “Our play areas remained open during the second lockdown, providing a vital leisure and recreation facility for families.

“I know this play area has been much appreciated during the pandemic and it is astonishing that anyone would vandalise it.

“The thoughtless vandals responsible for this have spoilt the fun of children and landed council taxpayers with a huge bill.

“We are determined to recover our repair costs and are asking anyone with information to step forward. Someone must have seen or know something.”

Cllr Allan Knox, whose Primrose ward in Clitheroe includes the castle grounds, said: “This is shocking.

“At a time when we are hopefully coming out of the coronavirus pandemic we should be treasuring things like our play areas. Young people should be doing positive things not indulging in vandalism.

“I hope those responsible are caught and punished.”