“MINDLESS thugs” caused more than £500 worth of damage to a popular park.

Vandals struck at Belfairs Park, on Eastwood Road North, Leigh, over the course of a two-week period.

They set fire to piles of timber, kicked the heads off sprinklers, and stole metal flag poles.

Pc Steve Wiggett, investigating officer, said: "We were contacted by Southend Council on Thursday morning who were reporting this incomprehensible destruction of property.

“It’s beyond belief why people would want to do this.

“We want to identify the culprits and bring them to justice, but we need the help of witnesses; anyone who saw the damage being done or those who may know the people responsible.”

He went on to brand the vandals “mindless thugs.”

The timber was worth £200, the sprinklers will cost approximately £250 to repair, and the flag poles were valued at arround £100.

Anyone with information in connection with the vandalism is urged to contact the Neighbourhood Crime Team at Southend police station on 101