‘Incredibly selfish and spiteful’ – Appeal after Sunderland pop-up park damaged by vandals

A pop-up park in Sunderland was damaged by “incredibly selfish and spiteful” vandals.

The popular city centre park at Keel Square was damaged in two separate incidents on August 11 and overnight between August 12 and 13 leaving those behind the creation devastated.

It had been a huge hit with families who had taken their youngsters to see a range of large scale animals that are covered in artificial grass.

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But sadly the zebra seat was pulled out of the ground, carried away and dumped in another area of Keel Square, while the following night the donkey was pulled off its plinth.

Police said during the first incident, a group of males tried to pull one of the statues down, damaging the structure at around 1am on August 11.

Then at some point between 6.30pm on August 12 and 7am on August 13, another group have entered the square and pulled the structure down from its brackets before making off from the scene.

Statues at a pop-up park in Keel Square were damaged by vandals in two separate incidents
Statues at a pop-up park in Keel Square were damaged by vandals in two separate incidents
(Image: Sunderland BID)

The park is part of a programme of city centre activity across the summer organised by Sunderland Bid and Sunderland City Council.

Sunderland BID has now asked people to be extra vigilant and help protect one of the city centre’s summer attractions.

Sharon Appleby, chief executive of Sunderland BID, expressed her sadness at the incident and called them “incredibly selfish and spiteful acts”.

She said: “We wanted to provide something really special for families to enjoy in the city centre, which not only benefits people in the city but also the local economy.

“So we are really disappointed that people think it’s ok to try and destroy these attractions or damage them.

“They are incredibly selfish and spiteful acts and we would hope that anyone who sees people behaving in this way would call the police immediately.”

The BID is now looking at extra security measures to protect the animals.

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “We are investigating reports of criminal damage relating to a grass statue in Keel Square, Sunderland.

Statues at a pop-up park in Keel Square were damaged by vandals in two separate incidents
Statues at a pop-up park in Keel Square were damaged by vandals in two separate incidents
(Image: Sunderland BID)

“It was reported that on August 11 at around 1am a group of males entered the square and tried to pull the statue down, damaging the structure.

“Then at some point between 6.30pm on Thursday, August 12 and 7am on August 13, another group have entered the square and pulled the structure down from its brackets and made off from the scene.

“Enquiries are ongoing to trace those responsible, including viewing CCTV, and anyone with information is asked to get in touch with police by using the Tell us Something page on our website quoting log Np-20210814-0181.”

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Chronicle Live – Sunderland