A 13-year old Melksham teenager has been arrested on suspicion of arson, following a fire in King George V Playing Fields where damage was caused to a picnic bench next to the splashpad.

The teenage boy has been placed on conditional bail pending further enquiries after being quickly identified by police from CCTV footage.

The arson attack at around 9pm on Sunday completely destroyed the plastic picnic bench. The blaze was filmed by locals who rushed to the scene.

Heat from the fire also damaged a nearby waste bin next to the splashpad fence and plastic sofits on the cricket pavilion building.

Sgt James Twyford, of Melksham Police, said: “We've seen the absolute best and worst of Melksham's youth tonight.

“As many of you will know, a bench was set alight at the newly-opened splashpad, which has caused a great deal of damage to the immediate area.

“The person responsible has been identified and will be dealt with. It is a juvenile, so we are limited in what we can publish, but rest assured that we are as frustrated as everyone else by this person's deliberate actions.

“At completely the other end of the scale; two girls were quick to react and call the fire brigade; whilst another boy managed to drag the burning bench away from the building.

“This selfless behaviour has doubtlessly saved the damage from being much worse.”

Members of the local community praised the quick-thinking youngsters who helped minimise the damage caused by Sunday’s arson attack.

The town's mayor Cllr Jon Hubbard said: "Shocked and saddened by the fire in the park this evening.

"We need to allow the Fire Service and, if appropriate, the police the time and space to do their jobs and then explore what happened.

"Our thanks to those who reported the fire and to our amazing firefighters for their rapid response and great efforts at minimising the damage."

Cllr Hubbard, who is a trustee of 4Youth (South West) at the Canberra Centre, said he did not believe the incident was representative of the town's young people.

Former Melksham Town Council leader Vanessa Fiorelli said: “Although last night's fire at KGV is incredibly disappointing, it has shown just how brilliant Melksham people are. It's amazing to see how much KGV is loved."

If you saw the attack or can help with information, call Wiltshire Police on 101, quoting crime reference 54210051774. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.