Vandals caught damaging New Plymouth's Pukekura Park will be banned and prosecuted under a new regime to curb wanton destruction there.
Security patrols at the central city park have already been significantly increased and park staff will be operating a zero-tolerance policy, referring all vandalism to police.
"We've got more security guards in and though that is part of the build-up to the Festival of Lights it is also very much because of the problems we have been having that seemed to have taken off with the burning of the New Zealand Wave," park curator Chris Connolly said.
The attack on the New Zealand Wave came just hours before the park's playground was to open after a $560,000 makeover.
The arson attack destroyed the net on the playground's central play item and cost council $55,000 to replace.
That idiotic assault was quickly followed by the smashing of lights in the recently refurbished band rotunda, an arson attack on the playground toilets, the uprooting and destruction of newly planted roses and the stripping of the red perspex eyes of a Don Driver sculpture.
On top of that there have been five break-ins to park buildings in the last four weeks.
"The last month has been incident after incident of this sort of stuff going on.
"I'm not sure if it's worse than it's ever been but it's at a level that is not acceptable," Mr Connolly said.
"We have thousands coming in and using the park and enjoying it but some little scumbags are making a nuisance of themselves at night."
While the financial cost of repairing the damage caused in the attacks was not always large, they cost park staff time and morale, he said.
Visitors to the park were also often disgusted and angry at the destruction, Mr Connolly said.
He urged all park users to call police immediately if they saw people engaged in vandalism in the park.
Those caught would be trespassed and prosecuted.
- Taranaki Daily News
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