COUNCIL park wardens should be patrolling an award-winning park to stop vandals who caused more than £2,000 of damage striking again.

The call has come after yobs set light to a £1,000 motorised roller, at Woodside Park, Thundersley, possibly after taking it for a joyride.

Three new trees donated by Benfleet Cricket Club were also destroyed and a window on the nearby Woodside Hall was broken.

Cricket club secretary Deryck Povey said: “It’s silly vandalism for the sake of it. I don’t understand what they would have got out of it. When we found the trees, they had been completely destroyed. The branches had been ripped off and were on the ground, as were the metal protectors around the trees.

Everything had been ripped apart.”

The incident happened just weeks after vandals tore up newly-seeded cricket pitches just before the season started by playing football on them.

As a result, the club has been forced pay to hire pitches in Basildon to avoid cancelling fixtures until it can return to Woodside Park, at the end of May. Mr Povey said: “The pitch is more of a worry for us.

“If that happens again, we will be really struggling. We have already had to rearrange matches for the first team to play away, and the second team is playing on our second pitch, which isn’t ideal, as it’s cramped.

“We are also having to pay for the third team to play its matches elsewhere.

“It would help to have a warden or someone checking the park regularly, as sometimes you don’t know what you will walk into.

“It’s frustrating for all of us as we were all getting ready for the season and we can’t play.”

The burned-out roller belongs to Castle Point Council and is thought to have been set alight on Saturday, May 3, or Sunday, May 4.

The park was recently awarded a Green Flag standard, a mark of excellence which recognises the country’s best green spaces.

CASTLE Point Council has appealed to the public for information about vandalism in Woodside Park.

The vandalismin the park has been reported to the police, who are now investigating.

Council chief executive David Marchant urged local people tell police if they knew anything about the damage to the cricket club roller and the young trees.

Mr Marchant added: “If residents have any information as to who caused this mindless damage, please contact Castle Point Council, on 01268 882200 or call the police, quoting incident number CF036140514.”