VANDALS have forced a play area in Whitehaven to remain closed to the public after it was targeted for a second time.

Copeland Council had no choice but to close Hensingham play park in April due to safety concerns caused by vandalism.

Now several areas of matting have been vandalised again while the play area was closed.

The council says it is beyond repair and further damage means it will cost significantly more to replace.

Mike Starkie, Copeland Mayor, said: “The play area is not safe for children to use in its current condition and our duty of care to our residents and visitors means it will be closed until the flooring can be replaced, at a cost to the taxpayer.

“I’m appalled to see that further vandalism has occurred whilst the area has been closed.

“We as a council do not have unlimited resources to replace this equipment every time someone chooses to criminally damage the area. Acts like this put a strain on our already stretched resources.”

Tony Lowrey, who represents Sneckyeat South on Whitehaven Town Council, said: "I have put it on Facebook asking people to keep away from it because it's just dangerous.We could do with the CCTV being released."

Coun Lowrey said that recent damage at Kie Skate Park, also at Hensingham, had cost £4,500 to repair.

"It's a lot of money for teenagers to ruin it for everyone else," he said.

"They either respect it or it will be lost. We don't want to lose it. My own grandchildren go there. Without that there will be nothing for them."

Ryan Redmond, who represents Sneckyeat North on Whitehaven Town Council, said: "It's really disappointing that a small minority always have to ruin things for everyone.

“Hensingham Play Park is enjoyed by kids from beyond Hensingham, including Richmond, Hillcrest and Sneckyeat.

"It will be a real shame if all those children lose out especially with summer holidays right around the corner and all because yet again someone has decided to destroy something that does not belong to them.”

Residents are urged to contact the police on 101 of they have any information in relation to the incident.