THEY are some of the most beautiful places in our borough but mindless yobs persist in wanton acts of vandalism.
The catalogue of shame includes smearing dog faeces, destroying children’s play equipment and potatoes on graves are just some of the mindless actions in Wigan’s parks and leisure centres.
Figures obtained through Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) show that between 2011 and 2014 the borough’s green spaces, libraries, sports centres and cemeteries have been ruined by yobs on a total of 117 occasions.
Although the trust was unable to disclose the full bill, it is expected to run into tens of thousands of pounds each year. However, the number of wrecking sprees is falling, from 47 in 2011/12 to 22 in 2013/14. From April this year to date, there have been nine acts of vandalism.
The most recent involved someone throwing dog muck on a car windscreen and bonnet in the car park of Robin Park Sports Complex in August and a day later a young teenager smashed the glass on a fire door at the same site. Nine youths kicked in a door in the foyer of the sports complex in March, costing £423.
Yobs had vandalised Norley Hall adventure playground three times this year. In April, the roundabout, swings and soft matting were trashed; In May, art boards were removed in the under-fives area and used as firewood and in June, telephone lines were damaged.
Three libraries were also targeted this year. A teenage boy kicked a sliding door and a disabled wash basin was pulled from Leigh Library in May and January respectively.
A sink was also separated from the wall at Standish Library, costing £188 and a window was smashed in Tyldesley Library, causing a bill of £297, both in April. Other acts of vandalism last year include d beer thrown over equipment in the outdoor play area of Standish Library; 29 roof slates were stolen and two windows were smashed at Ashton Bowls Pavilion, causing £152 of damage; and six windows were broken at Haigh Hall’s pavilion, costing £515.
The play shack roof was trashed at Mesnes Park, valued at £246 and a broken window in the park pavilion cost WLCT £136.
Yobs caused £359 of damage as they smashed two windows in the new lodge building and stole copper lighting conductors at Hindley Cemetery.
Cemeteries and gravestones were also heavily targeted. Excrement had been smeared on headstones three times and another had black paint thrown over an inscription at Gidlow Cemetery in 2012. Similarly, faeces had been laid on a headstone in Hindley cemetery, potatoes chucked on a grave at Gidlow and 20 headstones were pushed.