Dumbarton park firebugs slammed over “sickening” act

A “sickening” firebug attack has left a kids’ playpark decimated just days before the school summer holidays.

The incident happened in the early hours of Saturday morning at the dam in Silverton which has benefitted from a £3million cashpot to improve play areas in the region over the last five years.

The vandalism has caused extensive damage to the park which sits within the central area of Millburn Crescent.

Town councillor David McBride blasted the culprits.

He said: “It’s devastating to see destruction for the sake of destruction.

“It beggars belief that it would enter the minds of some people to vandalise something that children use every day.

“The dam in Silverton has been there for a long time.

“Children have been playing there for generations.

“It’s sickening.”

Meanwhile council leader, Councillor Jonathan McColl said he struggled to understand the motivations of those who torched the popular park.

He explained that councillors Karen Conaghan and Iain McLaren, who represent the town, are already in discussions with council officers on how this facility can be back in action as quickly and safely as possible.

And he told how the issue could be raised as an emergency item at the council meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday).

The leader raged: “There are no words to adequately describe how I feel about the mindless idiots who have destroyed this play facility.

“What possible pleasure could someone derive from depriving kids of somewhere to have a bit of fun together especially after the year we’ve all had?”

Police have appealed for anyone with information on the offence to get in touch.

Inspector Mo Boyle of Dumbarton police station said: “Officers in Dumbarton are continuing enquiries and appealing for witnesses following a fire at the playpark in Millburn Crescent, Dumbarton which was reported at about 4.55am on Saturday, June 19.”

Councillor McBride has expressed concern that there have been “copycat” offences recently with a spate of incidents impacting on facilities used by children across the region.

At the start of June, vandals climbed onto the roof of St Martin’s Primary in Renton and damaged the five-a-side goal and a park bench. There was also broken glass left at the entrance to the school.

Two areas in Clydebank had been targeted previously with outdoor equipment at Carleith Primary vandalised and park equipment set on fire at the Central Radnor play area in April.

This latest incident is in view of many homes in the Silverton area.

Councillor McBride added: “They could have been overseen from so many different places although unfortunately they weren’t. It’s terrible.

“You can only hope that people, when they see these things, will take a step back and say ‘let’s not try and do something like that’ rather than the copycat incidents which appears to be what is happening.

“Hopefully the community will be keeping an eye out and if you see somebody there when they shouldn’t be, don’t give them the benefit of the doubt.

“Phone the police immediately.

“This will have to be repaired and we all pay for it.”

In 2016, the council invested over £3million in developing new play parks for young people across West Dunbartonshire to enjoy.

The park in Silverton was just one of 23 facilities across the region to benefit from the cash injection five years ago aimed at providing challenging, safe and stimulating outdoor areas for children to aid their development.

A council spokeswoman added: “It is extremely disappointing that mindless fireraising over the weekend has caused significant damage to the play area on Millburn Crescent.

“We condemn all vandalism but this targeted attack on a well-used children’s play park close to a residential area is particularly disturbing.

“Assessment of the damage is underway and any required repairs will be undertaken as soon as possible.”

Anyone who has any information on those responsible for the incident at the weekend is asked to call police on 101 quoting incident number 0918 of June 19.

Call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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