Staff and visitors to Ferry Meadows Country Park have been left devastated again after ‘The Carpenter’ returned on Christmas Eve, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.
The park had been hit by vandalism in 2016 and 2017, but there had been a long gap since the last major spree.
During the previous sprees graffiti was sprayed and benches and trees damaged by a vandal who became known as ‘The Carpenter.’
However, overnight on December 24 16 memorial benches, 26 young trees, 11 fence rails and two throw lines (water safety aids) were damaged. The culprits were armed with power tools to cause the vandalism.
It is not known if the latest damage has been caused by the same individuals as in previous incidents.
Staff at the park are currently assessing the damage to find out how much it will cost to repair and replace the items, but Matthew Bradbury, CEO of Nene Park Trust, tweeted on Christmas Day: “So sad to see a return to mindless vandalism in the Park this morning @neneparktrust. Help us to find the culprits before they do more damage.”
Adrian Oates, head of fundraising at the park, said: “It has been a long time since we had any damage like this, and we thought we were over it.
“All our staff have been left shocked and saddened by what has happened.
“All the benches that were damaged are memorial benches, so we will be contacting the families affected.
“The trees that were damaged were young saplings, and some of them were quite rare.
“We have had people suggest putting CCTV up, but the problem is many of the paths don’t have power, and it is such a wide area to cover.
“We did have extra security after the previous sprees, but because there had been a gap it was not there. We are looking at all the options again.
“We would urge anyone with information to contact us or police about it.”
Anyone with information about the vandalism should call Cambridgeshire police on 101 quoting crime file 0745641217, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
People can also contact the park with information about the damage by calling 01733 234193 or visiting www.neneparktrust.org.uk/
How to help:
Following the latest attack, a fundraising appeal has been launched to repair the damage.
Adrian Oates, fundraising manager at Ferry Meadows, said work was still going on to count the cost of the latest spree, which saw more than a dozen trees and benches ruined on Christmas Eve. The park is run by Charity Nene Park Trust, and relies on donations.
He said: “There is a lot of damage that has been caused, and our rangers are out assessing it at the moment. However, we do know the cost to fix it will be in the thousands of pounds.
“There have been a lot of memorial benches damaged, and we will fix all of them.
“To replace the trees will also cost thousands, so it will be a big job.
“We have already had lots of people coming in to stop at the visitor centre and to speak to staff to offer their support.
“We are very grateful for any help and assistance people can give, be it money or volunteering time to help look after the park.
“We have a wonderful community asset, and people are enjoying the park and offering to help.”
A fundraising campaign held last year following the spate of vandalism raised hundreds of pounds for the park.
People can donate to the latest appeal by visiting www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/nene-park/vandalism
For more information on how to support the park in other ways, including by volunteering, visit www.neneparktrust.org.uk/
Timeline of attacks:
The first damage spree at Ferry Meadows took place in November 2016. In the space of just two weeks there were seven graffiti attacks on the park, with offensive writing scrawled on paths, signs and walls.
In February 2017 vandals struck again, damaging benches, trees and other furniture at the park.
A fundraising campaign saw thousands raised for the park to help repair the damage and replace damaged items.
Following the damage at Ferry Meadows, other parks also saw vandals attack them in similar ways. Last month benches were damaged in a park in Gladstone Street in Peterborough.
Following the spate of attacks at Ferry Meadows last winter, locals dubbed the culprit ‘The Carpenter’ - although he has never been brought to justice, despite an increase in patrols.
Sergeant Warren Bottell,of the city’s Prevention and Enforcement Service, said he believed the culprit was one individual with a grudge against Peterborough City Council.