Vandals cause £8,000 damage to Wetherby skatepark

Deputy Mayor Harry Chapman next to the damaged skatepark (140103M1a) Picture: Marcus Corazzi.
Deputy Mayor Harry Chapman next to the damaged skatepark (140103M1a) Picture: Marcus Corazzi.

Horrendous damage to Wetherby’s skatepark will cost in the region of £8,000 to rectify.

Town Clerk Barbara Ball said the popular Ings-based park, which was opened ten years ago, was damaged beyond belief by vandals shortly before Christmas.

“It is horrendous what’s happened down there.

“It has taken the strength of I don’t know how many people to move this and in doing so they have bent the lip of the ramp.

“It is a huge piece of equipment.”

She added that the ramp should fit flush to the floor to enable skaters to use it but the vandals had pushed it about 20 degrees so that it was now sideways.

“We have been down to check on it this week and six of us couldn’t move it an inch so I don’t know how they’ve done it.

“There are no signs of mechanical means being used to move it as there are no marks in the ground.

“It is not going to be 15/16-year-olds who did it as they are not strong enough at that age.”

The skatepark was opened at a cost of about £11,000 after fundraising, following problems with young people skateboarding in the town centre.

Contributions came from various groups in the town with major ones from the Rotary Club who donated £6,047 and the Lions who gave £2,500.

Barbara added: “We have had two companies out to look at fixing the damage and one said he had never seen any criminal damage as bad as this before.

“We are looking at about £8,000 to fix it and I don’t know where the funds will come from.”

She added that the replacement and upgrade of the park will be discussed at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.

Father of three and Wetherby resident Declan Wilson told the News that he and his children turned up to the facility only to find it taped off.

“As a father of three children who received new scooters for Christmas we were really dispointed to find that the skatepark had been vandalised.

“This is a really valuable resource for the town and the obvious point about it is that until it is fixed, where are young people going to go to skate?”

Wetherby Police Sgt Matthew Appleyard urged anyone who knew about the incident, which happened between December 13 and 16, to contact the Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0113 2855374.

“We are very keen to speak to the individuals who did this,” he said.

Pick up your copy of the new-look Wetherby News, on sale from Thursday, January 16