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Facebook water fight wrecks award-winning Leeds garden

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Facebook water fight wrecks award-winning Leeds garden

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Local Government

Facebook water fight wrecks award-winning Leeds garden Facebook water fight wrecks award-winning Leeds garden

A mass water fight organised via Facebook has resulted in thousands of pounds of damage to Leeds’ award-winning Millennium Square garden.

The square’s stunning centrepiece, which scooped a bronze medal at the 2004 Chelsea Flower Show, is a symbol of the city’s enduring partnership with Nelson Mandela and his hometown of Durban.

But years of work establishing the showpiece feature’s exotic greenery were damaged when  around 350 people, armed with water pistols and buckets, responded to the Facebook listing.

Videos and pictures of people trashing the garden have been posted on the social networking website and footage also features on the YouTube video website.  Organisers even boast of the “success” of their “event”.

Huge crowds took up an open invite posted by a member of the public on Facebook to join in the water fight on Bank Holiday Monday (May 5th).

Plants were trampled, turf ripped up, water features emptied and filled with foam and the mechanism for the fountains is thought to have been damaged.

Council CCTV footage will be looked at by the police, which may be used to provide evidence which could lead to prosecutions for criminal damage.

Millennium Square had only just hosted the hugely successful homecoming gigs by Leeds band The Pigeon Detectives at the weekend- attended without trouble by around 16,000 people.

Councillor John Procter, executive member for Leisure, said: “Our parks staff were distraught when they discovered the wreckage.  Frankly I’m appalled at the total disregard for people’s ongoing enjoyment of this beautiful city centre oasis.  To destroy years of careful cultivation for a couple of hours of so-called “fun” is unforgivable.

“We will be pulling out all the stops to make sure everything is put right.  It will stretch parks staff to the limit when they are already working hard on this year’s Chelsea garden and the bedding and container planting for the city’s summer displays.”

Staff have been busy assessing the damage and spent much of Tuesday morning jet-washing masses of mud away from the area.

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