RESIDENTS were left furious after youths started a fire in a newly-refurbished children’s park in Basildon.

The fire appeared to have been started with deodorant cans on the grass at Whitmore Way park behind The Jolly Friar pub on Thursday evening.

A pair of teenagers who were about to enter the park with their five-year-old niece say they saw a group running from the scene.

One of them told the Echo: “Me and my friend and her niece went to the park and we saw kids climbing over the fence and there was smoke everywhere.

“We tried stomping the fire out but then it spread further so people from the pub called the fire brigade.

“My friend’s niece was crying saying she didn’t want the new park to go again.

"They’ve also tried to do it over the fields behind the park as well.

"The fire spread quite fast after I took the photo."


Shame - the fire service arrived to put the fire out

Residents took to social media to express their anger.

Jackie Nunn, said: "I was going to take my grandson in there at the weekend but I can't now.

"What is with these scum bags that feel the need to destroy everything it's just getting worse."

Susanna Seels, said: "Such a nice place for children to go to and families.

"I can't understand why people wish to destroy their own community."

The fire service confirmed the incident was deliberate.

A spokesman for Essex Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We were called to Whitmore Way, Basildon, on Thursday, at 9.02pm.

"One crew from Basildon attended and put out a small fire in a park by 9.18pm.

"The cause has been recorded as deliberate."