YOBS vandalised a children's play area less than two weeks after it was unveiled.

New play equipment worth £50,000 was installed at Mopsies Park, off Chittock Gate, Basildon, earlier this month.

Councillors told the Echo they were appalled to discover obscence graffiti scrawled all over the play area less than two weeks later.

Kevin Blake, deputy leader of Basildon Council and councillor responsible for leisure and arts, said: "This is an awful lot of taxpayer’s money we’re talking here.

"We want to give families something they can enjoy together, and less than two weeks later it gets ruined.

"It has taken a lot of effort from a lot of people to make this equipment available, and now we have to spend even more money because mindless thugs thinks it’s ok to destroy it.

"It’s this kind of behaviour that spoils the area and ruins things for everyone else.

"We don’t know who is doing it but I hope they get caught."

He added that work to repair the equipment, which was smashed up by the vandals, means there will be delays in revamps to parks in Langham Crescent, Billericay, and Passingham Avenue, Great Burstead.

Last year, the council agreed to spend £250,000 on new play equipment across the borough and spoke with local schoolchildren before deciding what to build.

Phil Rackley, Green party councillor for St Martin’s Ward, said he is “quite alarmed” facilities for children have been damaged.

He added: “It has only been up for a little while, I do hope there are ways we can catch them.

“This is play equipment for young people.

“It’s dreadful people think it’s acceptable to destroy something that is intended to bring children joy.”

The council is unsure how much the repairs will cost.

A Basildon Council spokesman, said: “The Basildon park team were appalled to see the damage which has occurred in the children’s play area at Mopsies Park in Pitsea. A mindless vandal attack has occurred in the newly installed play equipment in the toddler play space, where climbing equipment was smashed and offensive graffiti scratched into metalwork. This has caused £500 of damage. The council responded immediately and is continuing to work to make the area safe for the young families who use the space, and to return it to its former state.

"The incident has been reported to police."

Last week the Echo revealed parents wanted the council to fence off the new play area at Mopsies Park to protect children from dogs and the mess left behind my thoughtless owners.

A petition urging Basildon Council to take action has been signed by 55 people.

Anyone with any information about the vandalism can call Essex Police on 101.