Inside creepy theme park that became apocalyptic wasteland – and the shocking reason it was left to rot | The Sun

A THEME park that once welcomed millions of visitors has been left to rot for decades after a shocking drugs bust.

Spreepark in Berlin has become a decaying, apocalyptic playground with a complicated history hidden behind its eerie gates.

The 75-acre site, closed in 2002, is now covered with graffiti and mostly visited by curious thrill-seekers, party-goers and musicians.

Taken over in the 90s by someone most people found "eccentric", the new owner of the theme park didn't just plan to fly high on adrenaline or a candyfloss sugar rush.

Shockingly, the once popular spot was forced to close under his ownership after enormous amounts of cocaine were found buried inside parts of the rides.

The following year, he and his son were arrested for trying to smuggle 167kg of the drug back into Germany inside the dismantled Flying Carpet ride.


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Nowadays, bordering the river Spree, the park's once iconic giant red Ferris wheel stands rusting and ignored.

Carriages of abandoned seats, empty tunnels and decaying frames make up the wreckage of the once-impressive site.

An enormous T-Rex lies on its side, where it has been for years.

Likely once quite a captivating feature of the park, the dinosaur lies on its back with most of its teeth ripped out.

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Greenery has crept in around the rusting, grubby rides and a blanket of moss covers most surfaces.

An algae-covered pond even sits quietly still – with a swan-shaped boat rusting on its surface.

The park's heyday came in the 1960s and 70s when, under the Communist government of East Germany, it was well taken care of and very popular.

In 1991, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, an eccentric amusement park operator called Norbert Witte took it over, changing its name from Kulturpark Plänterwald to Spreepark.

As other theme parks became more common, and the government grew less and less inclined to finance it, the number of visitors to Spreepark had plummeted.

The hope was that Witte, along with his wife Pia, would breath a new lease of life into the once glorious attraction.

Changing the landscape of the park, he brought in new rides and changed the scenery, added a lake, canals, an amphitheatre with daily shows and even an English village.

But in a bizarre twist, Witte turned out to be involved in smuggling cocaine, and his funfair rides served as the chosen method of drug transportation between Germany and Peru.

Working with his son, Marcel, the businessman would smuggle drugs between the countries by hiding them inside parts of the rides.

The visitor rates had also never fully bounced back from their pre-Witte dip.

Eventually a combination of the less-than-ideal numbers, and Witte's criminal activities, led to Spreepark's closure in 2002.

After the park filed for bankruptcy, it was revealed that they had racked up debts of almost £13million.

Several of the rides were also in sore need of some repairs.

The year the park closed, Witte decided to pack up his six most popular rides as part of a plan for a "new Spreepark".

Baby Flight, Butterfly, Fun Express, Jet Star, Spider and Flying Carpet were stowed away into shipping containers.

Instead of finding their intended owners in Lima, Peru, the rides were shipped back to Germany.

And in an unfortunate twist of events for Witte, German police found 167kg of cocaine hidden inside the mast of the Flying Carpet.

Witte was caught in Germany, while his son was detained in Peru.

He served four years in prison, but his son remains locked up even today, serving a 20-year sentence.


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Witter even reportedly chose to live in a caravan on Spreepark's grounds after his release from prison, although it is not clear whether he does any more.

While the park never recovered from Witte's extra-curricular activities, it still stands eerily in East Berlin, playing host to the odd music festival, urban explorers and all manner of wildlife.

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