NEW equipment in the playground at Ilkley's Riverside Park was damaged in an arson attack yesterday.

Ilkley Gazette: The fire at Ilkley Riverside ParksThe fire at Ilkley Riverside Parks

Ilkley firefighters were called at approximately 6.30pm on Monday evening to a fire at the children's play park in the Riverside Gardens.

Ilkley Gazette: Ilkley firefighters tackled the fireIlkley firefighters tackled the fire

The fire caused damage to the ship structure.

A spokesperson for Ilkley Fire Station said: "The crew used a water backpack to deal with the incident which is being treated as arson and left with West Yorkshire Police who also attended. "We have taped the area off as a safety measure until repair works are carried out."

The new playground was only opened this year after Bradford Metropolitan District Council committed £150,000 to replace and refurbish the majority of the playground equipment.

Ilkley Gazette: The damaged play structureThe damaged play structure

The new design, commissioned by Bradford Council, with input from local volunteer group Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks, was a long-awaited development for Ilkley residents and visitors who use the playground regularly.

Ilkley Gazette: The incident at Ilkley Riverside ParkThe incident at Ilkley Riverside Park

Posting on The Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks Facebook page in response to the arson attack on Monday George Buckley said: "This evening the fire brigade were called to a fire that had started under the pirate ship in the playground. Many of you will know a huge amount of work went into refurbishing the playground and it is very upsetting for everyone involved, as well as for children who enjoy using it. This is one of the countless episodes of vandalism that have occurred since the playground was refurbished, smashed glass and graffiti has had to be cleared several times.

"If anyone has any information regarding this evening's fire or other cases of vandalism please contact West Yorkshire Police or email us at"

Chairman of the Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks Ed Duguid added: "Tonight a fire was set in the new Playground that seriously damaged some of the new equipment in the Toddler Area, in particular the Pirate Ship. As you know Friends of Ilkley Riverside in conjunction with local people and local organisations have helped to raise thousands of pounds in order to have a playground the town can be proud of and our children can enjoy. Up to five youths were seen in the vicinity of the Playground between 6:15 and 6:25 pm Can we ask if anyone spotted anyone in the vicinity of the Playground area to report it to the Police who may have some ideas on those responsible but obviously need some witnesses. Please contact the local Police Inspector, John Barker at

"We have an increasing number of Anti Social Behaviour events in the park area, with bottles being smashed, graffiti, young trees being vandalised, the fencing at the Wildflower area being pulled down, etc. We believe there is a need to extend the Town’s CCTV into the park areas. We have got to stop this kind of behaviour."

A spokeperson for West Yorkshire Police said: "We have recorded a crime of arson and we are investigating. Any witnesses to call 101 quoting crime reference 13220629805"

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: "Officers from the play maintenance team are visiting the site today (Wednesday) to assess the damage and make the area safe. Repairs will be carried out as soon as possible.

“We are exploring options on how a CCTV camera could be installed at the site.”

Ilkley Gazette: The fire in the play park which is being treated as arson