SPECIAL safety flooring worth over £2,000 has been stolen from playgrounds across Selston and Underwood.
Thieves drove a vehicle across the recreation grounds before pulling up tiles of the cushioned flooring, used to stop children hurting themselves when they fall.
Penny Fell, a Selston parish councillor for Underwood, said her biggest concern was the children’s safety.
“Their lives are being put at risk,” she said.
“If they fell off the swings and slides and there’s no safety surfacing they could really hurt themselves.”
The clerk of Selston Parish Council Jane Johnson said councillors have been left baffled as to why the flooring would be stolen and what it would be used for.
Ms Johnson said the floor tiles would not even be worth anything melted down because they were just rubber.
“It’s a mystery to us,” she said.
“A farmer told us that they could be used for stable flooring. And the only other thing we can think is maybe people are building their own playpark, or they are selling it on to councils to use in other parks.
“I’ve been a clerk for almost 11 years and have never come across anything like this,” she said.
Tyre marks have been left at each park, where a vehicle has driven over the three recreation grounds to get to the play areas.
Councillors think the thieves must have struck during the night and Ms Johnson is calling on the public to be on the look-out.
“We can’t have guards on the parks 24 hours a day so we are really relying on members of the public to be aware of the problem and know that is they see people pulling the tiles up they’re not workmen.”
Woodnook Park and Columbia Park in Selston were targeted on January 17, and Friesland Recreation Ground in Underwood was targeted last weekend.
All pieces of equipment next to the missing tiles are now out of bounds for children’s safety until the flooring is replaced.
Councillors have decided to put ‘wet pour’ vinyl flooring down to lower the cost of the repairs and make sure it cannot happen again.