CHILDREN at Thatcham Pre-school have been left devastated after vandals damaged brand new play equipment.
The offenders entered the pre-school’s garden behind the Moorside Community Centre in Urquhart Road and kicked the door off a mud kitchen.
Tyres were also thrown around the garden, damaging plants that the children had planted themselves.
The mud kitchen, which lets children make mud pies and develop their creative and sensual learning, had been built by a parent just two weeks before and was enjoyed by around 40 two- to four-year-olds.
Pre-school manager Jacqui Stevens said: “The children are devastated.
“We have wanted this for a long time, but as a charity we don’t have the funds to buy one.
“One of the parents spent his own time building it and now it’s unusable because there are loose bits and splinters.”
Mrs Stevens said that mud kitchens cost from £100 to £150, money that the pre-school didn’t have going spare.
The nursery cannot lock the gate to the garden because it is a fire exit for the building, which is used by other groups.
Mrs Stevens said a request for a caretaker to come and lock up had been refused.
She added that the garden had been vandalised on numerous occasions, but this was the worst case so far.
“We have no idea why,” she said.
“We get milk delivered, but it’s had to be arranged for it to come to one of our homes because people are stealing it.
“What do they achieve?”
She added that the pre-school was currently seeking quotes to resurface the garden, but was unsure of spending money on the project when it could get ruined by vandals.
The pre-school said that it had received lovely offers on Facebook to replace or repair the damaged mud kitchen.
“At the moment we are just looking into CCTV and how much that’s going to cost us,” Mrs Stevens said.
“If it happens again we have some evidence, but at the moment not much can happen.”
The damage is believed to have been caused between Sunday, night and Monday morning.
Anyone with information can contact Thames Valley Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 43170194684.