After 32 years in uniform, Taradale community policeman Senior Constable John Gillon should have just about seen it all when it comes to the types of criminal vandalism which dog suburbs throughout New Zealand.
But, shaking his head in bewilderment, he says there's something different about the estimated $3000 worth of damage caused by vandals wielding an axe at a playground at Taradale Park.
"It's a little bit unusual," he says, in an understatement. "It's not your usual vandalism. It makes me wonder about someone who would take an axe into a kids' playground."
The damage, including repeated smashing of a slide and solid wooden supports and safety rails, was discovered by Napier City Council parks staff about 7.30am yesterday, and happened two nights after a rock was hurled through a large window at nearby Taradale Kindergarten.
"We don't know if there's a connection, but it's likely to be youth age offenders, and someone will know," he said.
The axe attack appeared to have been carried out with considerable force.
Mr Gillon shudders at the thought of what could have happened had the vandals been interrupted during what is likely to have been a noisy and prolonged attack on the popular play equipment and seating.
Police were last night seeking any information about vandalism in the area, and people who had been in the park on recent nights.
Police could be contacted on 831 0700, confidentially on Crimestoppers 0800-555 111, or on-line