Shocking moment, crowds of youth gathered around Durham’s burning monument after it was set on fire causing £ 10,000 in damage
- Minevra’s temple at Sedgefield was attacked by yobs on March 19
- The footage shows the suspects pushing a garbage can towards the temple and setting it on fire
- A member of the audience handed the images to the local government
- Durham police have started an investigation and are calling for help
Shocking footage shows a crowd of youth gathering around a conflagration near an iconic County Durham landmark.
Minerva’s temple in Hardwick Park near Sedgefield has taken damage estimated at £ 5,000 to £ 10,000 to repair after being targeted last week.
A trash can is believed to have been propped up against the temple and set on fire, causing severe fire and smoke damage to the structure’s paintwork and causing molten plastic from the bin to adhere to the tiles.
The yobs left beer bottles on the floor next to the molten plastic on the monument
These are the shocking scenes when a group of yobs set fire to the Temple of Minerva in Hardwick Park near Sedgefield, causing damage costing between £ 5,000 and £ 10,000.
The Temple of Minerva was one of four Gothic ruins in the park’s grounds that were restored following a £ 4.1 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the work was completed in 2010
On the same evening, an interpretive metal sculpture in the park was also pulled from the concrete plinth.
Broken glass bottles and trash were also scattered around the temple. The Durham County Council, which owns the park, has since closed the damaged section of the temple to visitors. Officers assessed the damage to the structure.
Last Friday’s incident was attended by County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, while Durham Constabulary is investigating.
The municipality has handed over video footage, provided by a member of the public, to the police, showing a crowd of young people gathering right next to the fire.
The images also show part of the group jumping over the flames while encouraging screams can be heard.
Oliver Sherratt, the council’s head of environment, said: ‘The Temple of Minerva is truly a beautiful spectacle that many visitors to Hardwick Park enjoy and we are sure people will be sad to hear about this incident and the caused damage.
‘We are still estimating the extent of the damage, but it will likely amount to thousands of pounds and the repairs are an unnecessary drain on our resources.
After seeing the footage, it is clear that the people filmed put themselves in serious danger by standing so close to an uncontrollable fire and, in some cases, jumping over the flames.
Those in the images also clearly fell short of the limitations of the coronavirus, purely in terms of the number of people collected.
‘The images show that these were young people and we would encourage parents to make sure they know what their children are doing.
“We are grateful for the assistance we received from our police and fire colleagues following this incident and would urge anyone with information to report it to Durham Constabulary on the 101 non-emergency number.”
Dave Glendening, Division Manager South at the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “ With the Easter holidays fast approaching and the restrictions of Covid-19 easing, we would like to advise all parents and carers to do their part in preventing these types of incidents .
They can do this by talking to their children and young people about the dangers of deliberate fires and the fact that they can put themselves at risk.
Not only that, but incidents like this take our valuable resources away from where they are needed most and can have a devastating impact on the community.
“We recommend that anyone with information about this fire contact Firestoppers anonymously on 0800 169 5888 or report online by visiting www.firestoppersreport.co.uk.”
The Temple of Minerva was one of four Gothic ruins in the park’s grounds that were restored following a £ 4.1 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the work of which was completed in 2010.