Police are urging parents to be vigilant after broken beer cans were buried with the jagged edges exposed around a climbing frame at a St Neots play park.

The danger was spotted last week at Riverside Park, while shards of glass from broken wine bottles were also left strewn around the Coneygeare Park Play Area, on the other side of the River Great Ouse. A needle was also found in a play area on Loves Farm.

St Neots town clerk Ed Reilly said the cans and glass were reported to town council staff who contacted the police and Huntingdonshire District Council, which is responsible for the parks.

He added: “I think the people who are doing it need to really think of the harm they could do to children – it is just sickening.

“If people see anybody doing it they must report it, and also if they see people drinking in play areas.”

Town councillor Barry Chapman said: “St Neots has fantastic play areas for children and I will be asking our local police and HDC CCTV to attempt to identify those responsible. Not only does this put young children at risk of injury but also costs taxpayers for the extra efforts councils will now have to make in addition to the daily work already done.

“The parks' staff do a great job and it is good news they became aware of this vandalism before any injury occurred.”

Police were also informed after a needle was found near the pirate ship play area on Loves Farm. Lauren Bachman, a PCSO based at St Neots Police Station, said: “We are urging parents with young children to be extra vigilant in children's play areas. This follows a report of a needle and/or other sharp items being found in or near to a local children's play area.

“The councils have been contacted and are making efforts to ensure these areas are safe for children to play in.”

A spokesman for HDC said it took all reports of anything left maliciously in play areas “extremely seriously”. But on these occasions, she said, the rubbish had been cleared up by its cleaning staff and had not been reported to the authority's green spaces department, which looks after parks.

“We do regular checks, once a week, on all our play areas, so they are regularly monitored,” she added.

INFORMATION: Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.