REPEATED arson attacks and vandalism have turned a once popular children's playground into a ‘no go’ area for the community.

A climbing frame at Princess Diana Park in Bretch Hill was torched on August 20 in the latest of a series of arson attacks that has left the town council considering closing the park altogether.

The attack came just two weeks after the last fire on the site and four months since the area was plagued with similar incidents.

Police and community leaders responded to the latest attack with a visible presence in the park last week.

Officer patrols have been stepped up in the area and the force are considering installing CCTV cameras.

Banbury's Mayor Colin Clarke was in the park talking to residents alongside the police.

He said: "I, like everyone else, am frustrated and very angry by these repeated attacks.

"I know the police received some very useful information which they will be following up. We will find the people responsible and do our utmost to prosecute."

Mr Clarke said that the council will be meeting in two weeks to discuss the options for the future of the park. Councillors will have to choose to either not replace the equipment, install more fireproof options or close the park altogether.

Mr Clarke said: "The last thing we want to do is close the park. 99 per cent of people who use it do so properly. It's just a few idiots who cause problems.

"But we are very aware that we can't keep spending taxpayers money of replacing equipment."

The council spent £150,000 on a makeover of the park in 2010.

Leonard Williams, 76, who has lived near the park for over 40 years, said that he couldn't blame the council for considering closing the play ground.

He said: "An awful lot of money has been spent on it already.

"It doesn't seem to matter what they do. As soon as things are repaired, they are damaged again so rapidly. Everyone I know won't let their children play there at all."

Mr Williams said that he called the police after seeing youths in the park with an air rifle but they didn't come for two hours, by which time the youngsters had dispersed.

"After that I thought I will never report anything again" he said.

Investigating officer, PC Andy Baylis of the Problem Solving Team based at Banbury Police Station, said:

“It is extremely sad that someone would set fire to a playground which is used by many children in the local community.

“This incident is being treated as arson and I am urging anyone who has any information about the offence to contact police."

If you have information call the police on 101 quoting reference 1488 (20/8).