Vandals wreck children's play area

PUBLISHED: 12:18 25 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:13 18 June 2010

Sidford playgroup's leader with the seats and play mat that have spraypaint on them after the break in. Ref: P2611-21-09TI

Sidford playgroup's leader with the seats and play mat that have spraypaint on them after the break in. Ref: P2611-21-09TI

SHOCKED Sidford playgroup members have described the chaos caused by vandals who broke into the social hall last week. Play workers arrived at the hall, where the group is based, on Monday morning (May 11) but to their horror, found the store cupboard, wh

SHOCKED Sidford playgroup members have described the chaos caused by vandals who broke into the social hall last week.

Play workers arrived at the hall, where the group is based, on Monday morning (May 11) but to their horror, found the store cupboard, which houses all their toys and equipment, turned upside down.

Gold glitter and chalk was strewn around; silver spray paint had been used to cover chairs, walls and the cupboard floor; toys, books and files had been chucked about and a big toy car had been broken.

Caroline Vansittart, play leader, discovered the mess.

She said: "It was a real shock when we saw it. Everything had been tipped on the floor. It wasn't serious damage but it was more annoying.

"We felt a bit panicked as we had to get everything ready for the children arriving."

Caroline thinks the vandals gained entry into the hall through a fire exit but cautious playgroup staff are now taking extra precautions and have added a heavy bolt to the door.

Rebecca Hillier, a playgroup committee member and parent helper, said: "It was a complete tip. "From how we left it on the Friday to the way it was on Monday- it was a nightmare and I couldn't believe it.

"Who would do something like this? It's a children's area. I think it's appalling."

But Rebecca, whose four-year-old son attends the playgroup, says a positive came out of the negative experience

She added: "The children got the chance to talk to a police woman and she showed them her car with the flashing lights and siren."

The following day, administrator Helen Keast and other playgroup staff, cleaned up the mess but the spray paint has caused lasting damage to the cupboard and some of the equipment.

Rebecca said: "If anybody could help us to identify who did it we could stop it from happening again."

If you have any information about the break-in ring Sidmouth Police on 08452 777444 quoting crime reference number KS/09/247.


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