Firefighters have to cut youths free from playparks

Joanna Kuchnicka, five, is the right size for the Stenhouse Place East swings

Joanna Kuchnicka, five, is the right size for the Stenhouse Place East swings

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A CITY playpark has been at the centre of two bizarre rescues in less than a week after firefighters were called to free teenagers found trapped in infant swings.

It was a case of deja vu for fire crews who used bolt croppers to free an 18-year-old girl from a cradle swing at Stenhouse Place East Park yesterday morning – just three days after releasing a 14-year-old girl from the same play equipment.

Unconfirmed reports suggested the second teenager had been trying to demonstrate to friends what had happened to the first girl when she became stuck herself. The infant swings – recommended for children aged up to six-years-old – have been replaced at a cost of £180 prompting the council to issue a warning for adults to steer clear of the small-seated apparatus.

Bizarrely, firefighters were also called out to rescue a 14-year-old boy from a Galashiels playpark on Monday afternoon in a similar incident.

A resident, who lives opposite the Stenhouse playpark, said the area had been become a hotspot for underage 
drinkers.

He added that groups would regularly gather to drink alcohol and indulge in horseplay on the children’s equipment. “It’s been bad in the park for young people drinking,” said the man who declined to be identified. “They go in there with their cider and the boys sometimes compete to swing the highest trying to impress the girls.

“Often you come in the next day and there’s cans of drink lying around and if they have a bottle they’ll smash it on the ground leaving glass lying everywhere in the playpark. It actually hasn’t been so bad this year but it was awful last year.”

Speaking about the rescues, a council spokeswoman said: “Whilst we all value retaining something of our childhood attitude, some people take this too far.

“Sadly, actions like this mean children’s swings are damaged which need to be replaced and this of course costs the council money. We would urge anyone who is larger than an average sized six-year-old to please avoid trying to have a shot on the cradle swings.”

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: “Firefighters were called out to a play park in the Stenhouse area of Edinburgh at 12.32am on Thursday to assist an 18-year-old female who was physically trapped within a child swing. “This is the third incident of this type in recent weeks, and the fire and rescue service would remind people that these swings are designed for the use of young children.”

Crews from Sighthill attended this week’s incidents and managed to free the trapped teenagers within a few minutes.