Vandals torch Hampstead Heath playground pig installation

Vandals set fire to the wooden pig installation in the Heath Extension playground

Vandals set fire to the wooden pig installation in the Heath Extension playground - Credit: Stella Cridge

Vandals burnt a wooden installation for young children in a Hampstead Heath playground.

Stella Cridge passed by the Heath Extension playground on July 17 and saw that overnight vandals had set fire to a pig installation. 

On another occasion while in the playground with her son she found broken glass under a bench by the swings and graffiti on the slide.

Broken glass under the swing in the Heath Extension playground

Broken glass under the swing in the Heath Extension playground - Credit: Stella Cridge

"I passed by the playground and saw that some vandals had burned to the ground one of the wooden installations that the children play on, the pig," said Stella, who lives in Golders Green.

"There is clearly a pick-up in antisocial behaviour in this playground which is really sad and upsetting for all the children and families which use it.

"I have a two-year-old son and we have been using it regularly since he was born.

"I reported it to the Heath Constabulary who said they will ask the ground staff to clear it up and see what they can do to address the antisocial behaviour."

Stella, who contributes to the Heath Extension fundraising campaign, added: “I really hope the local community gets behind the rejuvenation of this beautiful local playground and helps fund a range of new facilities for families.

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"Greater use can also boost its profile and hopefully help tackle the issues around antisocial behaviour.”

In June, the City of London Corporation (CoLC), which manages the Heath, said it would step up patrols "in popular areas of the Heath" after a fisherman was mugged in the early morning

A CoLC spokesperson said the Heath Constabulary is in touch with the Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhood team regarding the recent damage.

The playground was temporarily closed to public access to enable staff to carry out repairs and remove defective equipment.

They said the playground will reopen "as soon as possible".

“Millions of people visit the Heath every year, and the vast majority enjoy it responsibly," they added.

“As with any open space, there is a small minority who sometimes cause problems for others, but serious incidents are very rare."

Antisocial behaviour can be reported to the Heath Constabulary by calling 020 8340 5260 during the day. 

“For serious incidents where a crime is being committed or offenders are nearby, members of the public should call 999,” they said.

Do donate to the fundraiser, visit, www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/hampstead-heath/donate-to-hampstead-heath/extension-playground