Vandals who have damaged furniture at two parks have been slammed by Richmond Council.

A wooden fox in Crane Park, Twickenham, along with a bench, trees and plants, were damaged and torched. The area is a nature reserve and nearby residents reported that the unknown vandals snapped off the ears of the wooden, ornamental fox and then set fire to the area.

This follows damage in Heathfield Recreation Ground in Twickenham and Hounslow Heath Open Space last week, where equipment and the protective flooring in the playground were damaged, signage defaced and a bench torched in recent months.

Whilst these incidents have been reported to the Police, residents are encouraged to speak to their local Safer Neighbourhood Team, should they have any information regarding the perpetrators.

Both parks remain open, with the damaged equipment being fenced off whilst repairs and replacement are arranged.

Cllr Martin Elengorn, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “It is hard to understand why anyone takes satisfaction in setting fire to a children’s playground or a nature conservation area.

“Although such mindless acts of vandalism are relatively rare in this borough these incidents are very disappointing and we as a Council, and therefore the local taxpayer, are now left to pay for an individual or group’s totally unacceptable behaviour.

“The parks team work extremely hard all year round to create welcoming and attractive places for residents and visitors alike to relax in and bring their children to. Acts like this tarnish the local area and spoil the enjoyment of others.”

Rob Gray, Chair of Friends of the River Crane Enviroment (FORCE) added: “Most people care for their local open spaces – there are though sporadic outbreaks of anti-social behaviour at Mereway Nature Park and elsewhere along the lower Crane valley.

"We understand the police are aware of the problem, and have increased local patrols in response, for which we are grateful. FORCE will continue to work with the council, Richmond Green Gym and other partners to maintain and improve the value of these open spaces, and encourage others to appreciate their importance for people and wildlife. Experience suggests this will provide their most effective long term protection."