Police are investigating a “suspected arson” after a “large fire” in a park play area.

Residents near Ann Shaw Gardens Play Area, in Henbury Way, South Oxhey, were alarmed to see flames coming from the site on Friday night (February 16).

A Watford crew was called at 9.13pm and found “a large fire affecting a bench and table in a children’s play area”, a Herts Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said.

It was put out by 9.35pm using a hose reel and is "believed to have been started deliberately”, they told the Watford Observer.

A Three Rivers District Council spokesperson added that the council is aware of the damage.

“The council is dealing with the situation and has reported it to the police,” they said. “If anyone has any information about the incident, please contact 101.”

Watford Observer: Cllr Steve King with the result of the fire in Ann Shaw Gardens Play Area.Cllr Steve King with the result of the fire in Ann Shaw Gardens Play Area. (Image: Cllr Steve King)

South Oxhey district councillor Stephen King slammed the destruction as an act of “wanton vandalism” and described how the benches were regularly used by the parents of children enjoying the park.

Herts Police have confirmed enquiries are ongoing following reports of a bench and play equipment being set on fire. Information can be reported with the crime reference number 41/13554/24.