Vandals strike at memorial skate park

Clive Heath at the memorial bench, which was sprayed silver during a vandal attack on the skate park

A VANDAL attack on a skate park which was created in memory of a Mangotsfield teenager has prompted calls for action on a promised revamp.

Obscene graffiti was sprayed on ramps at the park next to Emersons Green Retail Park and a memorial bench to Jamie Lee Clapp was entirely covered with silver paint during the incident, which happened between May 12 and 14.

Jamie was only 13 when he was killed in a plane crash in 2007.

His father Gordon wanted a lasting memorial to his son, who loved skateboarding and BMX riding, and with Jamie’s friends he campaigned to secure ¬£100,000 from local councillors, South Gloucestershire Council and the Big Lottery Fund’s Peoples Millions partnership.

The skate park opened in 2011 but in recent years the BMX track has become overgrown with brambles, which shield the skate park from nearby homes overlooking it, so what happens cannot be seen at night. There is no CCTV monitoring.

Gordon has regularly visited the park since it was opened but is now gravely ill with oesophageal cancer.

He has been trying for years to ensure the area around the skate park is properly maintained, but the weeds have been allowed to grow while the area awaits work to build a new path nearby, as part of South Gloucestershire Council’s Linking the Greens project.

When the project was announced it was suggested responsibility for the park would be passed from South Gloucestershire to Emersons Green Town Council – but while the town council is willing to take the park on, the last meeting over its future took place nearly a year ago

Gordon’s friend Clive Heath, who is the chair of Mangotsfield Residents Association, said: “Gordon was devastated by this vandalism. It’s a memorial park and should be treated with respect.

“The bushes provide cover and a lot of youngsters come here at night taking drugs – if one were to overdose they could be left here all night.

“None of the promises for improvement have been kept. What we need to know is who is responsible for it – and when are these changes going to take place?”

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said the council’s street cleansing team had been working to remove the graffiti.

The spokesperson called on anyone who sees vandalism taking place to call the police on 101 and report any graffiti in public open spaces, either on the council website or by calling 01454 868000.

However there is currently “no timescale” for the completion of the Linking the Greens project or handover of the park.

Police have called on anyone with information or video footage of those responsible for the graffiti to call 101 and give the reference number 5223 113 303.

The names and initials sprayed at the site were Dukes, Dukey, KE, OH, LC, Riko, Reekz, Rell, Sym, Logan and AW.