A BASINGSTOKE play area is open as normal this morning, after it was reportedly set alight by vandals yesterday evening (April 18).

Firefighters were called to the play area on Oakridge Road just after 8pm, where they used a hose jet reel to put out the small fire in the open, and reported the incident to police.

Nearby residents reported hearing a 'bang', with one passerby spotting four or five young people running from the scene.

This morning, the park appears to be open as normal and all equipment intact. However, our reporter on the scene could see considerble burn marks visible on the seating area and in patches on the bark surfacing, while a faint smell of smoke lingers.

The Gazette has contacted Hampshire Constabulary and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for comment.