New Calne sports area wrecked by bin fire

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: PCSOs Mark Cook and Andy Willox survey the damage to the sports area PCSOs Mark Cook and Andy Willox survey the damage to the sports area

A wheelie bin fire has wrecked a brand new sports facility which cost £79,000 to build and was only recently opened by Olympian Bobby White.

Police are looking for suspects after the wheelie bin was set alight in the new sports area at Hillcroft Anchor Road, Calne.

The fire, which happened overnight between November 28 and 29, is the second wheelie bin fire reported at the facility in the last couple of weeks.

It has melted a large hole in the surface, leaving an uneven patch which makes it difficult to take part in sport without tripping.

The town council-owned facility was funded by a section 106 agreement from the Hills development at Sandpit Road and was opened in May.

Team GB’s handball captain Bobby White supported the official opening by trying out the new equipment with youngsters.

Calne PCSO Andrew Willox said it was built to provide a place to enjoy sport and the damage was disappointing to see.

He said: “They have spent a lot of money on it and on two occasions someone has taken a wheelie bin from somewhere, wheeled it onto the Tarmac and set it on fire.

“What was a nice playing surface is now not very nice at all. “There’s a patch probably 3ft by 3ft where the Tarmac is now quite rough and uneven where they have patched it back together again.

“It’s a well used facility. Young children and older children use it, and a small minority have ruined it. It has cost the town council and the tax payers a lot of money.”

The sports area, known as a FISA (family inclusive sports area), is similar to the multi-use games area at Beversbrook where youngsters can play a variety of games, including street snooker, cricket and basketball.

Police have no witnesses or CCTV images of the fire and they need information from members of the public to find out who could be responsible for the damage.

PSCO Willox said: “Yesterday I was on patrol and I spoke to a mother and father of a young child and they were disappointed that it had happened because it makes it less pleasurable to use. There has been an ongoing problem since the summer of wheelie bins getting taken and set on fire. “There was an incident a couple of weeks ago so it’s still an ongoing thing.”

If anyone has information about the incident they should call 101 and quote the crime reference number 5413 011 4226, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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