Sadly, to an extent we have become used to mindless low-level vandalism at our recreation grounds. However, last week saw pre-meditated vandalism of a new, disturbing type.

Since the creation of Westhill and Norton Hill Recreation Grounds by the Miners Trust, it has always been Trust policy to keep dogs on leads when accessing the recreation grounds.

There are numerous reasons why it is Trust policy to keep dogs on leads at the recreation grounds: fear of dogs, trip hazards to those using the running track and dog fouling particularly in an area where children play.

In response to requests from local people, the Parish Council has asked dog walkers to respect this policy. In the summer months a Park Attendant chatted with people in the park and encouraged them to use more appropriate sites to let their dogs run free, such as Waterside Valley.

This was followed by more prominent Dogs on Leads signs at both Recreation Grounds. This week saw both signs being removed by vandals. At Westhill the sign was uprooted at the post and thrown into a tree – it could easily have fallen on a passer-by and caused massive injury. At Norton Hill the sign was taken off the post and removed from site.

The incident was captured on CCTV and is being investigated by the Police.

Chair of the Parish Council, Phil Wilkinson said, “It is a shame that some people should feel entitled to take matters into their own hands. The recreation grounds are not appropriate places to let your dog run free. The cost to local tax payers in replacing the signs is significant, as is the waste of police and Council workers’ time and the danger to the public by throwing the sign and post into the tree”.

Parish Council