Police are hoping evidence left at the scene of a suspicious Palmerston North fire will be the key to tracking down the culprits.
The arson attack on the children's playground near the kitchen and toilet block at The Esplanade happened about 9.30pm on Saturday.
A security guard alerted police when he saw the fire.
But the fire did not take hold and quickly extinguished itself, which may help police track down the offenders.
Detective Sergeant Dave Thompson said police were forensically testing a number of items found at the scene, which could provide fingerprints.
One unburnt item was found on the seat of a chair at the playground.
The fire damaged the chair and and a rubbish bin near the Fitzherbert Ave end of the playground.
An assault about 30 minutes before the fire was also believed to be linked to it.
A group of five or six teenagers, described as Maori or Pacific Island males, had an altercation with a man near The Esplanade.
The man was not badly hurt in the scuffle.
One of the suspects was wearing a red and black top and had tattoos on his neck.
Anyone with information can call Constable Grant Christian on 06 351 3711 or the anonymous Crimestoppers line 0800 555 111.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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