A NURSERY is counting the cost of damage to its playground after yobs vandalised play equipment.

Children at the Village Pre-School Playgroup in Little Lever returned from the Easter break to find that a climbing frame, a wooden reindeer made by a grandparent of one of the youngsters, and football goalposts had all been damaged.

Staff were alerted to the damage over the holidays — but have not been able to assess the full extent of the incident until this week.

The goalposts, which were constructed from drainpipes by a parent, have been temporarily fixed, but the climbing frame and slide, as well as the wooden reindeer, are beyond repair.

Nursery manager Keely Wilkinson said: "We are really upset because we have worked hard organised lots of fundraising to buy this equipment.

"We are a not-for-profit nursery, so it will be difficult to find the money to replace it.

"The children are missing playing on the climbing frame — they used to love making dens and had lots of fun on it. It is hard to see why someone would do this."

The climbing frame cost the nursery £350 from a second half shop — with funds being raised by holding a number of events.

It is not the first time the nursery, in Mytham Road, has been targeted.

Thieves previously stole a 4ft metal scarecrow from the nursery in July last year.

The nursery has been open for 37 years and says it aims to keep its fees low to allow a wide range of children from the community to access it.

Mrs Wilkinson, who has been the manager of the nursery for 14 years, added: "We have had a few problems over the years, with kids often standing on our roof and causing a nuisance. It is disappointing, because the children really enjoy using these items."

The incident has been reported to police.

The nursery has also posted an appeal on Facebook, with some people already offering replacement items for the playground.