Monday 20th November 2017-

Police said that two 14-year-old boys had been found responsible for the act of vandalism

A playground in Salford that was forced to shut for two months after it was ripped apart by teenage vandals is to get a total makeover.

More than £20,000 was spent replacing the soft surface at the George Thomas Playground, in Princes Park, Irlam, after it was torn up by hooligans earlier this year.

Police said that two 14-year-old boys had been found responsible for the act of vandalism and were dealt with through ‘restorative justice’ – they were ordered to carry out litter picks in the local area as punishment.

Footage appearing to show several youths pulling up the play area’s rubber safety surface in August and throwing chunks of it around the park appeared on social media and was met by outrage from disgusted local residents and families.

As a result of the damage, Salford Council had to close the playground, leaving children with no where to play during the summer holidays.

This then sparked a campaign by locals to raise £100,000 to completely revamp the facility, which the authority are now backing.

As well as laying the new £20,000 sand-filled carpet to replace the rubber surface and re-open the playground, council bosses have also allocated a further £35,000 towards the cause.

Coun David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said:

“We are working with a group of local people and the local friends of the parks groups who, like us, want to see the play equipment replaced and upgraded. Any new equipment can easily be fitted into the new surface which is more resilient to damage.

“They’re bidding for grants and organising events, including a Christmas market and Santa dash in the park on Sunday December 10.

“We are looking for funds to match whatever they can raise because this is a very popular and very well used play area.

Coun Tracy Kelly, lead member for housing and neighbourhoods added:

“It was a huge shame it had to be closed over the summer because of the damage but thankfully those involved were caught and have been dealt with.”

Princes Park was donated to the city in Victorian times by the late George Thomas and contains a unique remnant of the original course of the River Irwell which is now an important habitat for a range of local wildlife.

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