A Leeds primary school has been left counting the cost after its grounds were repeatedly targeted by vandals and thieves.
Staff at Grimes Dyke Primary in Stanks say activities for pupils have been disrupted, repair bills are stretching budgets and some children are now reluctant to play outside.
Business manager Angela Gilmartin said: “It’s not just the cost of replacing things. It’s the impact it’s having on the children. We had one of the children saying they were looking out for the bad people and didn’t want to go out.”
The school’s troubles began back in November when waterproofs used by the younger children for outdoor play were stolen from the playground.
Plastic equipment was strewn all over and a wooden table was also burned.
On other occasions, trespassers have gone into the school’s wooden playhouse and smoked cannabis inside.
Miss Gilmartin said: “Over the Christmas holidays they’ve damaged the football and rugby posts and they’ve wrecked the children’s playing benches.
“It’s really unfair on the children. They want to feel safe.”
The wooden tops were ripped off activity tables and set alight along with other wooden play equipment.
One set of goalposts was also burned and the other set was smashed up so that it can no longer be used.
Miss Gilmartin said it meant the pitches were currently unusable, leaving the school unable to host games and the children forced to travel each time they have a match.
Issuing an appeal for information, a West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Grimes Dyke Primary School have had two occurrences of criminal damage through the Christmas holidays where various items from the playground and sports field have been damaged.
“A wooden bench has been completely set on fire along with various wooden building blocks. Further to this the football field goal posts have also been damaged.”
Anyone with information is urged to email email@example.com or call 101, quoting reference 13190012770.