Vandals go on rampage at Blackrod playgroup
A VILLAGE playgroup is counting the cost of vandalism after yobs went on the rampage.
Blackrod Community Playgroup in Greenbarn Way was targeted by a gang of teenagers at least twice over the past week, destroying and stealing play equipment.
They first struck on Bank Holiday Monday and again later in the same week.
They stole a trampoline, destroyed a swing, damaged an outdoor house and ripped a new cover off a sandpit.
After clambering over a fence, yobs also vandalised rockers where children sit.
Staff managed to retrieve a climbing frame which had been thrown over the fence.
Joint manager Carole Bell caught the teenage vandals in the act after being alerted by the community. But they fled as she approached them.
Later that week, the vandals returned to steal the trampoline.
Mrs Bell said: “You just feel devastated when something like this happens. It is play equipment for three-year-olds.
“Members of the Prince’s Trust revamped the outdoor area before the summer holidays and it looked really good.”
She added: “There was a group of boys and girls aged about 15 or 16. I don’t know if they are local but they could have even come to this nursery when they were younger.”
It is thought it will cost hundreds of pounds to replace and repair the equipment as some of it was new.
The playgroup was founded 32 years ago and is a not-for-profit organisation.
It was targeted in April, 2010, and the destruction was only discovered when youngsters and staff returned after a weekend break.
But those responsible for the damage returned to the nursery to apologise and helped repair the damage.
Staff ensured the mess and destruction left was cleared up before children returned to the nursery after the summer holiday yesterday.
Mrs Bell said: “Last time some of the children were frightened about what had happened.
“Blackrod is soon to have a new play park which we campaigned for, I am worried about what will happen to that.”
Insp Wayne Readfern, for Bolton Central NPT, said: “Causing reckless and deliberate damage to property is bad but when the elderly or the young are impacted it’s even more devastating for the victims concerned.”
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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