Playground equipment set alight by youths

Playground equipment was deliberately set alight by youths in Dunedin yesterday, the Fire Service says.

Firefighters were called to Navy Park in King Edward St,

South Dunedin after reports of a fire near wooden playground equipment just before 2pm.

St Kilda Senior Station Officer Ben Pitelen said witnesses reported seeing a group of youths setting fire to an old mattress dumped in the area.

''It did some damage to the equipment and they also had some old tree branches there, so they were fairly keen to set fire to it,'' he said.

Firefighters were earlier called to the park after another blaze at 10.30am, ''but it was not quite as dramatic''.

Police were investigating the incident.

''These young people don't realise how serious that offence is. It is arson and criminal damage.''

Members of the public should report any dumped items to their local council to reduce potential fire risk, Mr Pitelen said.

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