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Arson continues in playground and school fires

Firefighter response Larkmead School

Two suspected arson attacks have damaged a play area in Princess Diana Park in Banbury and the sports hall of Larkmead School in Abingdon.

Thames Valley Police believe that the playground was set alight at around 8:30pm on Sunday. Investigative officer PC Andy Baylis said: “This incident is being treated as arson and I am urging anyone who has any information […] to contact police. It is extremely sad that someone would set fire to a playground which is used by many children in the local community.”

The fire was one in a string of incidents in Princess Diana Park, where five fires occurred in April of this year. Other recent vandalism in the park has included damage to a play tunnel, fencing pulled down and the digging up of a soft play area.

Damage to Princess Diana Park

Damage to the park almost caused it to be closed in April, when the frequency of vandalism forced councillors to consider whether the cost of maintaining the space was worthwhile.

Another suspected arson attack has caused damage to Larkmead School, where a fire broke out at approximately 7:30pm on Monday. A number of people had broken into the school and set fire to the cricket nets. Firefighters were able to control the fire before it spread to the rest of the school.

This incident follows a similar occurrence in January, when at Bardwell School in Bicester a shed full of playground equipment was destroyed by fire in a suspected arson attack.

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