A REWARD of £1,000 is being offered for information which leads to the prosecution of yobs who caused £50,000 worth of damage at the Spiderfields play area in Purfleet.

An arson attack in April, caused £12,000 worth of damage to free running, also known as parkour, equipment damaged a year after it was installed.

The equipments' specialist superficial surface will need repairing.

In May another fire started deliberately caused £28,000 worth of damage to equipment which had been installed thanks to funding from the Mardyke Veolia Trust two years ago.

Other criminal damage is also occuring at the park, Most recently a tree was hacked down with an axe. The council is now looking for funding to replace the irreparable damage done to the equipment.

West Thurrock Police Inspector Leigh Norris said: “The latest offences have involved the use of an axe or something similar to cut down a mature tree within the park. What particularly concerns me is that someone has had an axe in a public place, so it’s likely to be an offence on its own regardless of the damage caused.”

“Police are working hard with local people, the council and other agencies to detect, prevent and reduce these offences, but we really need some community help regarding the names of those who may be responsible.

“This is a community park - and a good one at that. The park is being damaged by a person or people with absolutely no respect for the time, effort and money that has gone into improving the area for residents and visitors.

“This cannot and will not be tolerated and I am determined to identify who is responsible.”

Cllr Victoria Holloway, the council’s portfolio holder for environment, said: “This is a terrible loss for the young people of Purfleet, and just down to the actions of a minority.

“It is hard to believe some people can be so thoughtless and stupid that they make a major effort to destroy something people they know thoroughly enjoy.

“Essential play and recreational equipment has been destroyed and now the council has to try and find funding for it to be replaced.”

Portfolio holder for public protection, Cllr Angie Gaywood, said: “Arson is a very serious crime and the effect it has had in Purfleet is clear for all to see.

“We intend to do all we can to support the efforts of the police in finding the culprits and bringing them to justice.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.