Teenager bailed after Eglinton playpark fire

The arson attack at Eglinton Play Park.
The arson attack at Eglinton Play Park.

A 15-year-old boy arrested in connection with an arson attack at a play park in Eglinton has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

The boy had been arrested on suspicion of arson by police investigating the report of criminal damage to equipment at the play park in the Main Street area of the village on Saturday night, January 12.

Speaking shortly after the fire at the weekend, PSNI Sergeant McColgan said: “It was reported that sometime overnight extensive damage was caused to equipment at a local play park after it had been set on fire.

“I want to appeal to anyone who has information they believe may assist our investigation to contact officers in Strand Road on 101, quoting reference 518 13/01/19.”

Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.

Local representatives meanwhile have expressed outrage over the incident.

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan described it as an act of “disgusting vandalism of the play park in Eglinton that is used and enjoyed by so many families from the village and beyond”.

“I, along with SDLP Councillors, will be working to ensure the park can be restored and reopened as soon as possible,” he said, adding:

“I would urge anyone with any information about this attack on the community to come forward with it.”

SDLP Faughan Councillor Jim McKeever said: “This park is used and enjoyed by families from Eglinton and far beyond. The wanton destruction of it is an attack on the Eglinton Community.

“Eglinton is a quiet place, renowned for its good community relations and its fantastic community spirit that was so evident in the aftermath of the flooding here in 2017.

“People here are shocked,angry and disgusted waking up to this sorry scene this morning.

“I and my SDLP Colleagues will be working with Council to ensure that the park can be restored and reopened as soon as possible.

“I would urge anyone with any information about this disgraceful act to bring it forward.”

DUP Councillor graham Warke meanwhile, said: “Disgraceful that Eglinton play park has been once again been targeted by vandals. The play park has now been closed.

“We have been speaking with many residents this morning who are disgusted by what has happened. The PSNI are aware of the incident and will be following up on the information they now have.”

Paul Hughes from Enagh Youth Forum said the vandalism must be condemned by everyone.

“Children have a right to play and unfortunately this right has now been taking away from children living in Eglinton Village because of this vandalism,” he said.

“The park will now be closed to enable repair works to be carried out. Hopefully funding for this can be found and the park reopened as soon as possible.

“We know too well that investment in Play Park’s are important and often only come about after years of campaigning by local residents.

“We also aware of the limited youth provision that exists in many rural communities including Eglinton.” Enagh Youth Forum have also offered to extend their outreach street engagement to the Eglinton area if residents felt this would be beneficial.

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