A play swing, specially designed for special needs children, has been stolen from a public play park in Craigavon.
Callous thieves stole the large pod over the weekend leaving a huge gap in the popular park Brownlow hub.
The theives needed heavy cutters to remove the swing and a large van to take it away, said a spokesperson for Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council.
In a statement the council said: “The popular play park was not vandalised as such, but we can confirm that a large pod swing was stolen over the weekend. This was not petty theft as these are large swings which can be used by two to three children at one time and would have needed heavy cutters to remove the swing and a large carrier van for transportation.
“This is the first instance of its kind at the Hub and is very regrettable as this particular swing is designed to cater for inclusive play and can be used by children with special needs as well as able bodied children. Overall the pod swing is very popular with the children from the local community and user groups of the Hub.”
Upper Bann MP David Simpson said: “The Council is inundated with calls reporting vandalism in each of the 39 play parks which is costing the rate payer thousands of pounds every year.
“I am disappointed that the rate payer is once again facing a bill of close to £1000 to replace a “cradle-swing” that was stolen. Sadly this is not an isolated incident but in fact a regular occurrence at our play parks throughout the Borough.
“It is unthinkable that anyone would want to vandalise or remove any of the equipment as their mindless actions are directly impacting the youngest generation.
DUP Cllr Margaret Tinsley said she had been contacted about the theft and revealed that it may take around 6-8 weeks for the replacement cradle to arrive.
“Absolutely disgraceful, with the rate payer having to endure the financial burden and disappointing for the children as the school holidays approach, a popular part of the park will be out of bounds.”
Sinn Fein Cllr Liam Mackle said he totally condemned the attack. “This is an attack on the whole community and these incidents of anti-social behaviour are getting out of hand. Play parks in Taghnevan and north Lurgan have also been vandalised leaving one out of action for two months. Anyone with information contact the PSNI.”