VANDALS have destroyed new gates just days after they were installed at Hardie Park in Stanford-le-Hope.

The gates, which cost several thousand pounds to install, were rammed by a car driver last week, who then fled the scene.

The damage, almost certainly done deliberately, was a blow to community group the Friends of Hardie Park, who have been working with Thurrock Council to transform the area.

Chairman Rob Groves said the volunteers are determined to carry on with their work despite the setback.

He said: “We are working hard to improve the facilities and look of the park in partnership with Thurrock Council and yet there is still a small minority who seem hellbent on destroying all that is good in our community.

"We plough on regardless knowing that there are more people who want to help us develop our park into a first class recreational space, than there are who want to spoil it.”

The company has already raised more than £3,000 towards new equipment at the park, and is working with the council on a significant funding bid.

A summer fete will be held to boost funds on Thursday, July 26.

Anyone who is interested in having a stall is asked to e-mail