Vandals have put a new recreational business in jeopardy before it has even got off the ground after a series of incidents this week has left bosses worried that Skegness is not a safe place to do business.
Go Zorb XS UK, only opened yesterday (Friday) for its first afternoon, however, prior to opening, on Thursday two of its trampelines were damaged and after opening several ‘Zorb balls’ were set alight causing £3,000 of damage to equipment.
The incidents have left those involved in the business, which is on the site of the former Kiddies Corner, on South Parade, wondering if it is ‘safe to operate the business’.
Owner and operator Neil Grant said he felt ‘let down’ by the incidents.
The company itself has been in operation for just over two years and has set up at festivals and concerts around the country.
“We thought Skegness would be an ideal place for it,” said Neil, but he said the vandalism and arson attacks had left him in the ‘worst of the worst’ mindsets.
He said: “My initial thought was it’s not safe to operate a business in this area.”
He said he had made already made numerous phone calls to see how quickly they could get off-site if needed.
The new business employs eight people and planned to offer a variety of Zorbing events including aqua-zorbing, ramp-zorbing, battle-zorbing, football-zorbing and arena-zorbing among others.
The site has not been used as a recreational area for more than four years and had not seen investment in that time.
Mr Grant said the opening yesterday afternoon had been ‘fantastic’, with staff and visitors enjoying themselves and taking numerous photographs.
He said he and his partners had wanted to bring something that everyone of every age could enjoy.
He said the incidents were a ‘kick in the teeth’ and that it was ‘touch and go’ as to what happened next.
“If we feel safe enough to stay we will, but if we don’t we’ll pack up and be gone,” he said.
After the news broke on Social Media, readers of the Standard expressed their sympathy and support for the business.
Nicky Watton said on Facebook: “No way, how horrible, I was planning on taking my kids there this week, my daughter was looking forward to it, how disgraceful!!!”
Chris Biggins wrote: “Disgraceful. I feel so sorry for these guys trying to get this new play area off the ground. We’ve also noted some graffiti on the lake area. Broken glass seems more prevalent this past year also. Time for CCTV?”
Alison Fisher said: “ This is so wrong this company were bringing something new and different to the town and to be targeted twice in such a short space of time is horrible.”
Ben Peel added: “If the perpetrators are caught make them work putting what they destroyed right again.”
Skegness Police have launched an appeal for information following the latest incident which is reported to have occured at about 1.30am.
PCSO Dave Bunker, of the Skegness Neighbourhood Policing Team, put out the appeal whcih said that at the time ‘unknown offender(s) have attended a play area for children on South Parade, Skegness and caused damage to play equipment by setting it alight.’
He said: “The resulting fire has completely destroyed the equipment.”
He added that a similar incident also occured at 6.45pm on Thursday, when ‘unknown offender(s) attended the same location and caused damage to a large trampoline before running from the scene towards the sea front’.
Anyone with information which may assist in identifying the offenders is asked to call 101 if you are able to assist with our enquiries, quoting Incident 111 of March 26, 2016, in reference to the arson and incident 392 of March 24, 2016 in reference to the criminal damage to the trampoline.
Alternatively, please call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.