Vandals destroy ‘sturdy’ outdoor table tennis table set up for Wisbech people to enjoy

Cllr Michelle Tanfield enjoying a game of outdoor table tennis. Soon afterwards the first of two in

Cllr Michelle Tanfield enjoying a game of outdoor table tennis. Soon afterwards the first of two in Wisbech Park was vandalised. - Credit: Archant

Vandals destroyed a table tennis table set up for everyone to enjoy in Wisbech Park.

Damaged table tennis table in Wisbech Park

Damaged table tennis table in Wisbech Park - Credit: Archant

The damage to one of two tables in happened before Fenland District Council had time to send out a press release announcing their arrival!

Both had been provided from a £250,000 pot of cash handed to the council to promote sport in Fenland.

Barbara Walton, who submitted this picture of the damage, said: “Once again I have to bring the mindless vandalism for your attention which had taken place in the last couple of days.

“It was caused by gang of boys jumping up and down on the table tennis tables. What is so amazing is that the

CCTV camera is just yards away.

“Why wasn’t something done when this was taking place or are these cameras just for show?”

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Georgina Ragg posted a photo of the damage on a Wisbech Facebook group on Monday with the comment “well these didn’t last long”.

The following day the council’s press officer – unaware of the vandalism- sent out a release about the table tennis tables.

Six have been provided - two each in the Manor Centre, Whittlesey, West End Park, March and Wisbech Park.

The tables have been in the parks around a month and according to the council have been well used in that time.

But of the damage, a council spokesman said: “What can you say?

“These tables are pretty sturdy, so it takes a lot to do this amount of damage. In the short time they have been in place they have already proved very popular, so it’s very disheartening when a few idiots behave in a way that spoils the enjoyment for everyone else.

“We urge anyone who sees anything like this happening to contact the police immediately so we can try to catch those responsible.”

Checks were being made of coverage from CCTV cameras in Wisbech Park to try to identify the culprits.

The spokesman said: “Outdoor table tennis is one of the sports being encouraged by Active Fenland, a three-year project being funded by a £250,000 grant awarded to Fenland District Council by Sport England’s Community Sport Activation Fund earlier this year.”

Councillor Michelle Tanfield, cabinet member for sport and leisure, was pictured trying out the tables.

She said: “This is a great sport. Anyone can have a go and you don’t have to be brilliant to enjoy it.

“In some ways it’s much harder than playing indoors as the wind can play havoc with the ball. But that only adds to the fun - and having fun is really the whole point.

“At the moment Fenland has fewer people playing any kind of sport than anywhere else in Cambridgeshire.

“To change that, the first step is getting more people to see that they can actually enjoy taking exercise.”

But after seeing news of the vandalism she wrote on Facebook: “It seems that they have a weakness at corners when they are repeatedly jumped on!”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555-111.