Arsonists torched a picnic table amid a spate of vandalism at the popular Sandhill Lake park in Worksop.
Now police have stepped up patrols on the park, also known as Godfrey’s Pond, while visitors have been urged to be vigilant.
The table was set alight and destroyed on the same night as fire crews were called to a large blaze at a garage on nearby Sandy Lane and Grafton Street.
Vandals have since wrecked more benches in the area, to the dismay of residents living close to the town-centre attraction, which was given a £100,000 facelift only two years ago.
“It’s just mindless vandalism,” said resident Clive Fores, who is a member of the Sandy Lane Forum community group. “When the picnic table was set on fire, the blaze was very fierce.
“It’s such a shame because Sandhill Lake is a lovely place to visit, so I would ask people to report any further incidents of vandalism to the police.”
The police are now trying hard to clamp down on all kinds of anti-social behaviour at the park. Insp Neil Bellamy, who leads neighbourhood policing in Worksop, said: “It saddens me that people choose to commit mindless acts of vandalism for no other purpose than to seemingly deprive members of the local community of these facilities.
“It is also fair to assume that there are members of the community who have information regarding the offenders and who choose to remain silent.
“Not only should the offenders be ashamed of themselves for what they have done, they should also be brought to justice. To that end, I encourage anyone with information about this damage to report it via 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
The picnic table was installed by Bassetlaw District Council as part of the facelift at Sandhill that also included renovated footpaths, new fishing platforms, new gates and barrier fencing. It was paid for by Bassetlaw Council, Notts County Council, Sandy Lane Forum and the WREN environmental grants organisation.
Coun Julie Leigh, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at the council, said: “Sandhill Lake is a fantastic facility that is in danger of being spoiled by a minority of mindless individuals. If you see anyone doing something they shouldn’t or committing acts of vandalism, please report this to the police.”