'They must face consequences': Newark and Sherwood parks attacked by arsonist vandals

Fire damage at the Vicar Water Country Park
-Credit: (Image: Newark and Sherwood District Council)

Severe fire damage has been reported at an award-winning park in the latest spate of anti-social behaviour. For years the Newark and Sherwood district area has suffered from anti-social behaviour and youths causing problems in Newark's town centre, but recently the problem seems to have spread out across the town and wider district.

In early May 2024, there were incidents of vandalism at Sconce and Devon Park, such as fences and the new community orchard being damaged. However, the Vicar Water Country Park and Sherwood Avenue Park have now also been targeted by vandals.

Severe damage has been caused at the Vicar Water Country Park, a Green Flag site in Clipstone, due to a fire on the park's heathland. In the same area, there has also been graffiti scratched onto the mount of a newly installed sculpture.

It was also found on Tuesday, May 21, that Sherwood Avenue Park in Newark had been defaced with offensive and graphic graffiti. This vandalism was discovered during a routine daily inspection and was quickly removed.

Councillor Paul Taylor, portfolio holder for public protection and community relations at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “I am deeply disappointed by these recent incidents of vandalism. Not only does it blight our communities, but in the case of the fire damage it is extremely dangerous, for both park visitors and wildlife, and could have had devasting effects."

Graffiti at the Sherwood Avenue Park, Newark
Graffiti at the Sherwood Avenue Park, Newark

He continued: "The selfish individuals who think they are above the law and common decency must be stopped and made to face the consequences of their actions. We are working with our partners from the police to investigate the various incidents and Vicar Water Country Park has been added to our community protection officers targeted patrols.

"We have also reached out to the schools in the local area to help us in our investigations and they will be contacting parents and carers about the incidents."

The Sherwood Avenue Park is due to be refurbished, and the District Council and Newark Town Council are working together with the public to shape the future of the site. Councillor Taylor added: "So many people work extremely hard to protect, improve and maintain our parks and green spaces, from our officers and park rangers to local community groups and volunteers.

"We want these to remain safe and welcoming spaces for residents and visitors, and also for the nature and wildlife that call our parks home. I urge residents to help us keep our community spaces and parks safe by always reporting any incidents of ASB or crime to us or the police.”