THE person responsible for torching play equipment worth more than £6,500 “needs help”, according to a local councillor.

Arsonists set a “hammock style swing” alight at the Moordown Recreation Park on Thursday.

Police are currently investigating the incident, which happened shortly before 8pm, and Cllr Beverley Dunlop, ward councillor for Moordown, said the culprit “needs help”.

“We are very upset,” she said. “I am quite shocked, it is not just a bit of vandalism, it is arson.

“Someone has taken petrol, poured it on there and set it on fire, in 14 years I have not seen anything like this.

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Beverley DunlopCllr Beverley Dunlop

“I would like to understand what’s going on in their head, they might need help.

“If someone pours petrol on play equipment, I would say they probably need to see someone, it is not just naughty behaviour, it is quite shocking.

“It is important we replace it. We were quite excited to get that piece of equipment in.

“If someone knows why it has been done then get that person some help.”

Cllr Mark Anderson, portfolio holder for environment, said he was “furious” about the vandalism.

Bournemouth Echo: Picture: Andrzej StanislawskiPicture: Andrzej Stanislawski

He said: “It was only put in in March, for someone to go and torch it is disappointing, it is mindless vandalism.

“At the moment we don’t have funds to replace it, I am looking around to get extra money, I am going to replace it to prove to vandals they may have fun doing it but it’s not going to affect anyone.

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Mark AndersonCllr Mark Anderson

“It’s just antisocial behaviour, I can’t comprehend the gratification someone would get out of this.

“Why would you want to stop kids having fun? I am just disappointed and sad.”

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: “We received a report at 8.12pm from the fire service of a fire at a swing in Moordown Recreation Ground on Endfield Road in Bournemouth.

“It is believed the fire was started deliberately. Enquiries are ongoing into the report. No arrests have been made.”

Bournemouth Echo: Picture: Andrzej StanislawskiPicture: Andrzej Stanislawski

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “A crew from Redhill Park were called to Endfield Road, Bournemouth, at 7.53pm.

“A hammock style swing was found well alight and extinguished using one hose reel jet.

“The stop came at 8.11pm and the Police were informed of the incident.”