The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated how important public open spaces are for our mental and physical wellbeing, and luckily Neath Port Talbot is well served by its forests, parks and seaside.
But one of the most popular local assets – Neath’s Gnoll Estate Country Park – is currently under regular attack by vandals who are causing extensive damage valued at many thousands of pounds.
Over the past few months, toilets have been damaged, buildings broken into, the Visitor Centre has been attacked with CCTV cameras smashed, tiles have been torn from the roof, windows broken, and items set on fire. Also flagstones have been stolen and play equipment vandalised.
The latest vandalism last weekend, saw another building broken into through the roof and items stolen, including the park’s new zero emission all-terrain electric site maintenance vehicle. The vehicle was driven around the park ripping up the grounds and plants, before being taken on road to Eaglesbush where it was eventually dumped down a ravine. Also, paving stones have been dug up and found stacked, ready for transport off-site.
Security has been stepped up at the park and South Wales Police, which is putting on extra patrols, is working with the council in an attempt to bring those responsible to justice.
To help protect the park for everyone to enjoy, we are appealing to all those who use the park and who live nearby to help the council and South Wales Police identify those responsible so they can be held accountable. If you have any information, or see anything suspicious please contact the police.
Cllr Leanne Jones, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection, said: “We would appeal to all those who love using the park to help us identify those undertaking all the damage and theft. It is your facility, your place to get away from it all and take a stroll or simply sit and relax, so please help us keep an eye on what is happening there.
“We would appeal to those responsible to show greater respect for community assets, and members of the community to use their influence to help stop this mindless vandalism.“