A COMMUNITY garden created by primary school children and local residents has been destroyed by arsonists.

Burnt copies of the Bible and Sherlock Holmes were found among the charred remains of the garden after the arson attack.

Police are currently investigating the incident and treating it as arson and criminal damage.

The garden, which included a special seating area and a 10-foot wizard’s chair, was built in a community woodland spot known as “our backfield”, situated near Larkfield Grove in Tonge Moor.

The scheme was the brainchild of the Entwistle Street Residents Association who enlisted the help of Bolton-based play area specialists Cool Canvas to bring it to life.

School pupils from Tonge Moor and Moorgate primary schools were heavily involved in the designing process and the building of the communal area, which aimed to provide a place for local people to gather and relax.

But vandals struck twice in a week to destroy the project, first covering the chair in graffiti on Tuesday last week, before returning the next day to set the whole area on fire.

Bed posts, chairs, aerosol cans as well as copies of Sherlock Holmes and the Bible were found in the aftermath of the fire.

The offenders also tore up freshly planted flowers and removed a new wicker walkway.

The project formed part of the “Our Back Garden” scheme, which began in 2009 and has seen a steering group made up of residents, school children and staff from Bolton at Home make numerous environmental improvements in Tonge Moor.

Marilyn Woods, treasurer of the Entwistle Street Residents Association said she could not understand the “mindless and selfish” actions of the vandals.

She added: “This is an old landfill site and we wanted to create somewhere the kids could use as a place to meet. The children involved in designing it had written to me saying how excited they were to come and use the space — I just can’t believe what they have done.”

Cool Canvas owner Oliver Wotherspoon has said he would build a new wizard’s chair free of charge to be donated to one of the primary schools.

The 32-year old said: “It’s just frustrating. The kids took such a sense of pride in what they had achieved — but these oiks won’t beat us.”

Police have asked anyone with information about the arson attack to call 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.