Whyteleafe theft-hit play area to get CCTV

Whyteleaf play area
Image caption The equipment at Whyteleafe was installed in 2011 at a cost of £100,000

CCTV is to be installed at a Surrey playground targeted by thieves - but it will mean other play areas could lose out, a council has said.

Decking and equipment parts were stolen from Whyteleafe play area in Hillbury Road last month, a year after it was rebuilt at a cost of £100,000.

Tandridge District Council (TDC) is to install CCTV to protect it in future.

But spokesman Steve Hyder said that would mean spending money that should have gone on play equipment.

"It really begs belief why somebody would want to do something to a children's play area like this," he said.

"The particular items that were stolen are from the toddler area, which makes it even more disappointing."

Complete repairs

Mr Hyder said the total cost of the thefts, between 17 and 29 December, was still being worked out but would be several thousand pounds.

He said the council was waiting for one part to arrive on Monday to complete repairs to the equipment.

He said the council had installed CCTV at one other playground, which had helped to deter vandals and thieves.

"It is a real sorry thing to say but it may be time that CCTV becomes more part and parcel with children's play areas," he said.

"That is a real shame because it will mean the council will be spending money on CCTV where it should have been spending it on children's playground equipment.

"Ultimately other play areas may suffer as a direct result."