ARSONISTS caused £15,000 damage after targeting a popular park for the third time.

This time, yobs set fire to the cricket pavillion, at Lake Meadows Park, in Radford Crescent, Billericay.

The park has suffered three costly arson attacks in the past five months.

Basildon Council condemned the destruction.

Michael Mowe, deputy councillor responsible for leisure and open spaces, said: “I am disgusted and upset at yet another totally needless and brainless act of vandalism.

“There is simply no need for this sort of behaviour.

“This is part of wider problems within the park, and we will be working with our partners to try to address this.”

Kevin Blake, councillor responsible for leisure and open spaces, said: “We have been in touch with the insurance company and will be working hard to get the damage repaired as soon as possible.”

Billericay Town Council discussed the possibility of getting security guards to patrol the park, after yobs burned climbing equipment, causing £25,000 damage to its new £86,000 playground in May. A month later, arsonists torched the roller skating area.

Police are now probing the latest attack on the cricket clubhouse and changing rooms, and have vowed to beef up patrols at the park.

Sgt Cath Henderson, of Billericay police, said: “We are working in partnership with the local authority and park wardens to resolve this issue.

“We regularly patrol the area and will be mounting operations to combat antisocial behaviour and criminal damage there.

“I am disgusted a minority of individuals have ruined the great facilities at Lake Meadows, and we ask anyone who knows who did this to come forward, so they can be brought to justice.”

Witnesses to the incident, which happened just before 8pm on Friday, can contact officers at Billericay police on 0300 3334444.