'Spoiled the enjoyment' - Park bench damaged as engraving cut off

The damaged bench on the western side of Catton Park.

The damaged bench on the western side of Catton Park - Credit: Submitted

A park warden believes someone used a chainsaw to cut away part of an engraved bench in Norwich.

Matt Caley, warden at Catton Park, was dismayed to find out the bench on the western side of the public space had a big piece missing. 

The top of the bench, which is made of oak, has been removed and Mr Caley is urging people to look out for a piece of wood with Catton Park engraved on it. 

Norfolk Police have been informed about the engraved bench being vandalised at Catton Park.

The police have been informed about the engraved bench being vandalised at Catton Park - Credit: Submitted

Mr Caley said: "This happened at some point on Thursday morning. Unfortunately this was the one time I was not on the site as I was on a day's holiday.

"I went over in the evening and it appears someone has used a chainsaw. It is 5cm of oak which hardens over time so they would not have been able to break it off without a chainsaw.

"They must have taken it back to their shed, mancave or whatever, so if anyone sees a bit of wood with Catton Park on the back of it, that has been stolen from us." 

This is what Catton Park's bench looked like before it was vandalised.

This is what the bench looked like before it was vandalised. - Credit: Bill Smith

The park warden said the sawdust on the ground was fresh when he saw it on Thursday evening, so he is convinced it took place soon before then.

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"They have spoiled the enjoyment of the park for everyone that uses it," Mr Caley said. "People like to come and sit on the bench and it has been very important over the past few months during lockdown."

A replacement oak panel is on order for the bench, located near the Victorian pond, which Mr Caley expects will be completed in a couple of weeks time. 

Catton Park's bench is believed to have been damaged on Thursday morning according to park warden Matt Caley.

Catton Park's bench is believed to have been damaged on Thursday morning - Credit: Submitted

The cost of the new timber will be £40, and the engraving alone cost £100. Mr Caley said the total value of a brand new bench is £600. The bench had been at the park for 14 years. 

Heritage Lottery funds had gone towards the bench engraving when it was first set up.

Mr Caley said: "Timber is in relatively short supply due to Brexit but a local sawmill has cut off a piece for me to bolt on the back. We will miss the engraving which was a nice touch." 

Police have been informed.

We contacted Norfolk police for more details.

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