Burnt Teesside MP Ashok Kumar bench tribute to be replaced

The bench on Saltburn promenade A similar bench was installed at Saltburn after the MP's death

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A Middlesbrough park bench installed as a tribute to a former Teesside MP will be replaced after it was set alight.

The memorial bench was installed in Stewart Park in 2012 in honour of Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Ashok Kumar, who died in 2010.

Cleveland Police said two teenagers arrested over the damage, which was found on Saturday, have been released.

Middlesbrough Council said the bench would be replaced and it would speak to Dr Kumar's family about a new plaque.

His successor as MP, Tom Blenkinsop, said Stewart Park was one of the places Dr Kumar enjoyed spending time in.

"It was one of two places he would often go to to get some time away from the hustle and bustle of it all," he said.

Middlesbrough Council said another bench would be installed on Wednesday.

Dr Kumar represented Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland from 1997 until his death from natural causes in 2010, aged 53.

At the time of its unveiling, his family said the bench was a reminder of his "energy and passion and his love for the North East".

A similar bench was also installed at Saltburn after the MP's death.

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