A headteacher has slammed “mindless” vandals after thousands of pounds of damage was done to a Hartlepool school.
Police have opened an investigation after vandals struck at St Aidan’s C Of E Memorial Primary School, on Loyalty Road.
They targeted an outdoor area which had developed within the last year at a cost of over £20,000.
A fence was damaged, as were a set of wooden benches, a window, a sand pit, a shed and other items in the playground, which is used by children aged between four and seven.
The school now says it has no option but to install CCTV in a bid to deter any more prospective vandals, at a cost of £11,000.
Headteacher Lynn Scott said: “It’s just mindless vandalism.
“The fence has been trashed, but that’s just one of the areas that has been targeted.
“Someone designed and made us a big storytelling chair outside, and with that piece of artwork were five wooden benches, which allowed us to take the children outside and tell them a story.
“All of them have been trashed, and there has probably been a couple of thousand pounds worth of damage overall.
“We spent a lot of money on these good experiences for the children in the yard, but they have been destroyed for no apparent reason.
“It’s such a shame that this has happened just as we’re starting to get warmer weather, as this is when we would have been using all of the new equipment and giving the children a chance to learn outdoors.
“The children are extremely upset about it.”
On the imminent installation of CCTV, Mrs Scott added: “We’re now going to have to spend £11,000 on CCTV around the school to try and ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“That’s money that we now can’t spend on books and experiences for the children to help them learn.
“We’ve spent tens of thousands of pounds on the outdoor area for the benefit of the children, and for this to have happened is terrible.
“If anyone saw anything, we’d really like them to come forward so we can catch those responsible.
“We had our fence renewed last year and you can see in quite openly from the street, so hopefully someone might have seen something over the weekend.”
Cleveland Police confirmed that no arrests have yet been made over the incident, but investigations are ongoing.