Quick-thinking cafe workers help save a community facility within a popular park after mindless yobs set it on fire.

Although most of the bandstand in the Braintree and Bocking Public Gardens has been saved, its trust will have to foot the bill of the repairs.

Firefighters were called to the gardens, in Bocking End, at 2.39pm on Tuesday.

Workers at the nearby Cool Beans in the Gardens café spotted smoke coming from somewhere in the grounds and rushed over to see where it was coming from.

Tanya Roweth, one of the workers in the cafe, called the fire brigade after seeing flames.

“Rachel McMillan, the owner of Cool Beans, grabbed the fire extinguisher from the cafe and put out as much as possible,” she said.

“The fire brigade said that made a big difference to the damage.

“I am glad that I saw it and went to check, it would have been easy to ignore it but I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if I did.”

The gardens are managed by the Braintree and Bocking Public Gardens Trust, and the charity will now have to pay for the repairs.

However through Cool Beans’ staff’s quick thinking the damage was not as bad as it could have been.

Ms Roweth said: “It is disappointing that people feel they have to vandalise like this for no apparently reason.

“It is upsetting. I love the gardens and it is such a beautiful place for families to go.

“The fire service were absolutely fantastic. They just arrived and set about their jobs.”

A spokesman for the Braintree and Bocking Public Gardens Trust said it was "disappointed" and "saddened" by what had happened.

Fire crews from Halstead and Braintree were sent to the scene.

A spokesman for the Essex Fire and Rescue Service said: “Crews reported on arrival that a thatched bandstand was approximately 20 per cent alight.

“Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire by 3.23pm. The cause of the fire has been recorded as deliberate.”

The bandstand has been set alight several times over the past few years.

Here is the damage which has been done to the bandstand:

Braintree and Witham Times: