Park users have reacted with anger after swings and their metal chains were cut down and stolen.

The theft happened at Newmans Lane playground in Debden on Tuesday and Loughton Town Council estimates it will have to pay £1,000 to replace the equipment.

Keira Lucas, 25, of nearby Pyrles Lane, who visits the park with her 16-month-old son Lewis, said: “It’s a bit ridiculous. They’re children’s swings and should be left here for the kids to play with.

“My son goes on the little swings and he loves them. They’re his favourite part of the park normally.

“Debden is becoming more and more like this, unfortunately.”

Tolga Atalay, 42, of Deepdene Road, who walks his dogs past the park, said: “It’s vandalism.

“There’s a phone box across the road and the glass gets broken every time they put new glass in.

“You also see 15 and 16 year-olds playing on the park and sometimes, they’re as heavy as adults.”

Tennis courts in Roding Valley Recreation Ground in the south of Loughton were vandalised in September, for a third time since a £70,000 revamp.

The town council has made the Newmans Lane play area safe and is urging anyone who sees anything suspicious in the future to call its offices on 020 8508 4200.

Police are investigating the theft.