Vandals destroy bench

tis  Jennifer Hall with the remains of the burnt bench in Rossett Local Nature Reserve.  (120509M5b)

tis Jennifer Hall with the remains of the burnt bench in Rossett Local Nature Reserve. (120509M5b)

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vandals have struck again at a Harrogate beauty spot – destroying a bench in an arson attack.

Fire crews from Harrogate fought the blaze at the Rossett Acre Nature Reserve, at 7pm on Saturday night, but the bench was completely destroyed.

Warden Jennifer Hall said she had been moved to tears by this “heartless” act.

“We’ve had so much trouble with vandalism there,” she said. “They go there because it’s a lovely area, I’m sure, but they make it ugly by this viciousness.”

The bench was bought with a donation from Growing Places and was to help disabled people access the area.

“It’s dreadful to see it all up in flames and to see how it looks now,” said Mrs Hall.

She added: “Was something used to set fire to it? We don’t know if it was some flammable liquid.”

The arson attack is the latest in a long string of acts of vandalism at the Harrogate beauty spot.

A perspex sheet from an information board was taken to be used as a table – with traces of white powder, believed to be cocaine – found on it afterwards.

“We get stuff thrown in the pond, with the great crested newts live,” Mrs Hall said. “We have found drug paraphernalia.

“It’s constant, it’s a nightmare really. Sometimes I come away and I cry. We fight to keep it litter free and then they have a party.”

Meanwhile, piles of wood were set on fire in the Pinewoods on Sunday and bottles were thrown into the flames, leaving broken glass across the ground.

Coun Jim Clark, who represents Harlow at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “I am concerned with the fireraising that goes on, as this is the latest and follows the dreadful fire at the children’s fort in Valley Gardens and, in the past, fires at Rossett Nature Reserve and the Pinewoods

“While originally opposed to the move of the police station to Harlow, I now welcome them and hope it leads to better policing in this area and stamps down on this sort of mindless behavior.”

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call North Yorkshrie Police on 101.

What can be done to deter this kind of vandalism? Email ackrill.news@ypn.co.uk or write to the address on Page 10.