ARSONISTS are believed to have started a fire which destroyed a children’s playground in Stratford.
Crews from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to tackle the blaze at the Burbage Avenue play area at around 5pm on Monday.
Police are investigating the blaze which sent plumes of black smoke billowing across surrounding homes.
A resident, who did not want to be named, told The Observer: “I was at home when I heard a lot of noise, so looked outside and saw thick black smoke.
“A neighbour who actually saw the fire said it went up really quickly. The play area is very well used and is really going to be missed especially with the school holidays just about to start.
“I really can’t understand why someone would do this. It was in broad daylight so someone must have seen something. Whoever was responsible needs to answer for what they’ve done.”
The equipment – including a climbing frame, roundabout and swings – was replaced three years ago at a cost of £30,000 after local Brownies chose which items they thought children would enjoy the most.
Fencing has gone up around the charred remains of the equipment.
Stratford District Council said it was looking to replace the equipment ‘like for like’.
District community spokeswoman Coun Sarah Whalley-Hoggins said: “This is very sad but thankfully no one was injured especially as it was a pleasant summer’s evening and families may have been outside enjoying the good weather.
“I would like to thank the fire service for their swift response as this prevented the fire from becoming a much more serious incident.
Anyone with any information about the incident is urged to call police on 101.