VANDALS have reduced a recently refurbished, centrepiece fountain to a trickle.

The Central Fountain in Middlesbrough's Albert Park was damaged during the cold winter of 2009 to 2010 and was fully refurbished in 2013 at a cost of £30,000.

But people have since thrown soil and rubbish into it and it has become clogged with soil sediment.

Unaware of the vandalism, dog-walker Billy Charlton, who has long campaigned to ensure the park is well-kept, had criticised Middlesbrough Borough Council. He said: "They've only just done it and it's already reduced to a trickle. The fountain pond is now completely covered with algae."

A Middlesbrough Council spokesman, who explained that the recent work included the replacement of the pipework and electrics and the installation of new pumps and filtration units, said: “The problems with the Albert Park fountain have resulted from large quantities of soil and other debris being thrown into it.

“This unacceptable anti-social behaviour has put the fountain out of action, and the only solution is to drain and clean it.

“It will be repaired this week, and we will explore measures to prevent future problems including increased park patrols and the use of CCTV.”

The fountain in Albert Park was built in 1869, presented to the people of Middlesbrough by railway pioneer Joseph Pease, the first Quaker MP. Pease and his father started the first passenger railway, although it was primarily to