A POPULAR swimming school has been forced to close its doors after years of vandalism.

Victoria Lea, 44, has been running Little Dolphins Swim School in Farnworth for the last six years, but this week announced the school is to close.

The changing room ceiling collapsed from water damage after lead was stolen from the roof for the second time in just eight weeks.

The vandalism follows years of problems for the staff.

Ms Lea said: “I walked in the changing rooms last week and the roof had collapsed. We keep making a loss because things keep happening.

“We have been broken into, robbed in broad daylight, I have had my motorbike pinched from the car park. It’s been ongoing for six years.

“Our issue is that if children were in the changing room and the roof fell in, it could have caused injuries. We’re not prepared to take that risk.”

She added: “I’m upset and angry because I have built it up from nothing.”

Ms Lea runs the school with her partner and swim coach Lauren Healey.

She said: “I am extremely disappointed that such a joyful, pleasant swimming school has had to come to an end like this.

“We have built strong relationships with a lot of parents and children and it’s devastating to have to walk away."

Parent Jo Finch said: “I cannot tell you how much this has upset my daughter, and me.

"My daughter never had confidence in swimming and even at seven years old, wouldn’t even put her face in the water.

"After a couple of months being taught by Lauren, she swims without a float, jumps in, loads of confidence and loves her lessons.

“Now because of some incredibly inconsiderate and spiteful individuals, they have stopped."

Fellow parent Lucy Jolly said: “My son had lessons with Vicki, Lauren and Lindsay for two years and I chose Little Dolphins as he is quite an anxious little boy but I knew that being able to swim is a life skill and he needed to achieve this.

"The instructors were so patient and understanding towards him. He was really coming on with his swimming and it is such a shame for the community of Farnworth, the team at Little Dolphins who worked so hard and for the children who attended."

Ms Lea says she will continue coaching swimmers in her home of Southport.