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Calls for private security to return to Christchurch Park after memorial trees destroyed by vandals

PUBLISHED: 18:09 03 June 2018

Memorial trees in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, destroyed by vandals. Picture: NICOLA JOHNSON

Memorial trees in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, destroyed by vandals. Picture: NICOLA JOHNSON

Nicola Johnson

Fresh calls have been made for private security to be reinstated in Christchurch Park during the summer months after several memorial trees in the park were destroyed on Friday night.

Memorial trees in Christchurch Park destroyed by vandals. Picture: NICOLA JOHNSONMemorial trees in Christchurch Park destroyed by vandals. Picture: NICOLA JOHNSON

Volunteers found the damage to trees in the arboretum on Saturday morning, which volunteers from the Friends of Christchurch Park said were worth several hundred pounds each and bought in memory of loved ones.

David Miller, chairman of the Friends group said the private security firm was employed last summer after the outdoor classroom was struck twice by arsonists, and helped reduce vandalism, drug activity and anti-social behaviour in the area.

Now, he has called for it to be reinstated.

“It’s a very sad set of circumstances – you have got to feel for those people when they go into the park and see it destroyed,” he said.

Memorial trees in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, were taken out after vandals destroyed them Picture: JASON NOBLEMemorial trees in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, were taken out after vandals destroyed them Picture: JASON NOBLE

“We went through all this last year when we had the arson attack and terrible drug related problems.”

The appeal on the Friends group’s Facebook page has had more than 30,000 views and been shared more than 300 times.

In light of the incident, Mr Miller has written to Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, Chief Constable Gareth Wilson, MP Sandy Martin and Ipswich Borough Council asking for security to be reinstated during the summer months.

In his letter, Mr Miller said it had been a “huge success” in 2017 which effectively reduced vandalism, drug taking and anti-social behaviour.

He also said that the council’s park patrol officers could only observe and inform the police, where security officers could actively engage people.

Alongside the security, the Friends have also called for increased patrols, including overnight joint patrols which proved successful last summer.

It is not clear what the cost of the security firm last summer was, or why it was discontinued.

On July 24 2017, firefighters were called to the thatched outdoor classroom after it was seen alight, and left completely destroyed by the flames.

The rubble was found alight again three days later.

Anyone who has information on the latest incident is urged to get in contact with the group or Suffolk police.

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