Heartbreak after ‘deliberate’ fire at village playground

Aftermath of the fire deliberately started in Manor Fields playground. Photo contributed by Billingshurst Parish Council.
Aftermath of the fire deliberately started in Manor Fields playground. Photo contributed by Billingshurst Parish Council.

Thousands of pounds worth of equipment was damaged in a heartbreaking fire at a village playground.

Firefighters battled a deliberate blaze at Manor Fields playground in Billingshurst, on Wednesday night, November 15.

Crews attended at about 8.20pm and were forced to let the equipment burn as they stopped the fire from spreading in Coombe Hill.

The facility is used by many families and youngsters in the village and the parish council has been left devastated.

Greg Burt, clerk at Billingshurst Parish Council, said: “What can I say, we provide this facility for the benefit of residents and in this case in particular for young people.

“Whoever did this has deprived kids of a facility that all kids expect to see and use. It’s frustrating, it’s heartbreaking it’s disappointing.”

Aftermath of the fire deliberately started in Manor Fields playground. Photo contributed by Billingshurst Parish Council.

Aftermath of the fire deliberately started in Manor Fields playground. Photo contributed by Billingshurst Parish Council.

Police are treating the blaze as suspicious.

Photos show the charred remains of some equipment while other pieces are badly damaged.

A spokesman for the fire service said crews used hose reels to extinguish the remaining flames after letting the fire burn out.

Greg said most of the damaged equipment in the playground was more than 20-years-old and the council may struggle to repair it.

Aftermath of the fire deliberately started in Manor Fields playground. Photo contributed by Billingshurst Parish Council.

Aftermath of the fire deliberately started in Manor Fields playground. Photo contributed by Billingshurst Parish Council.

He said: “We are looking to see if it can be repaired. Because of how old it is we may have to look at brand new equipment. It’s just a waste of time and money.”

“What is the point of vandalism,” Greg added. “It’s completely pointless.

“Kids will be without this facility for weeks if not months to come.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting serial 1307 of 15/11.

Aftermath of the fire deliberately started in Manor Fields playground. Photo contributed by Billingshurst Parish Council.

Aftermath of the fire deliberately started in Manor Fields playground. Photo contributed by Billingshurst Parish Council.