Vandals leave pre-school play area in a state at 'hot spot' for teenagers
STAFF and children were left devastated after vandals struck at a pre-school in Frampton Cotterell.
Youths ripped a wooden gate off its hinges and damaged children's play equipment at Zion Community Pre-school in Woodend Road.
Employees at the pre-school said they would now have to raise money to get the gate repaired and replace the ruined equipment, which included a climbing frame, slides and a play house.
They believe the damage was caused by a group of teenagers who have been spotted locally and are also suspected of leaving litter and empty alcohol containers behind.
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In a statement, a spokesman for the pre-school said: "Staff and children are very disappointed at the damage that has been caused. The pre-school has to fundraise for equipment for the children and the fact the gate has been ripped off means the children are unable to play in the outdoor area until someone is able to fix it.
"There have been problems for several weeks now with bottles and cans and other items being found. This has been reported to the landlord and the police but the incidents are still occurring."
The vandalism occurred at the pre-school, which is based inside a church hall, on Saturday night.
Rachael Cross, an assistant at the pre-school, believes there were about nine people in the group of youths, who are aged about 16.
She said the culprits took all the play equipment out of the pre-school's outdoor area and threw it about at the back of the building. Ms Cross said the slide was ripped off the climbing frame and graffiti was sprayed on a wall during the wrecking spree.
She said: "The play equipment has been moved before but it hadn't been damaged. We've contacted the police on many occasions and they have told us the stairwell is a hot spot for teenagers to hang out.
"They said they would keep coming here and making checks but said they would have to catch someone in the act if anything was to be done.
"We will have to raise money to pay for new equipment now and that's not an easy thing to do."
Police spokesman Wayne Baker said: "If anyone was passing by and has any information about what happened, we would be interested in hearing from them."