Vandals trash children's play area in Hutton, causing £1,200 in damage

A children's play area has been trashed by vandals in Hutton, causing more than £1,000 in damage.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 3:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 3:50 pm
Vandals have caused approximately 1,200 in damage at a play area run by Hutton Playgroup at the Village Hall in Moor Lane

Hutton Playgroup, a registered charity and community-led group based at the Village Hall in Moor Lane, was targeted late on Saturday, December 14.

Despite being secured by a fence and a padlocked gate, vandals gained access to the play area, smashing the shelter and breaking a number of toys beyond repair.

Shocked parents rallied together to clean up the play area after discovering the vandalism on Monday morning.

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The vandalism happened over the weekend after vandals gained access to the secured play area by climbing over a fence

But their efforts were undermined by vandals who returned the next day to continue their wrecking spree.

Sue McGarrie, a manager at Hutton Playgroup, said: "We discovered the damage on Monday (December 16) but it happened sometime over the weekend.

"We have tried to block their path but they have been in again on Tuesday night.

"We are only a small playgroup whose committee and parents work very hard to fundraise to buy the extras we need.

Toys have been broken beyond repair and the rain shelter has been smashed with bricks

"So this will be a big shock to our finances, to try and get the play area fit for purpose and safe again for the children to use."

Mrs McGarrie said vandals have been targeting the play group for a number of months.

"It’s very shocking and upsetting that there are people around us that can carry out this mindless vandalism", said Sue.

"This antisocial behaviour has been going on for a few months but is escalating around the play area, village hall and surrounding estates.

"The area is secured by a fence and padlocked gate but on this occasion that wasn't enough.

"Users of the village hall are beginning to feel very vulnerable in the evenings.

"We have been the victim of vandalism before, not long after the play area was opened, but it was nothing like this."

Catherine Greenwood has a three-year-old son who attends the playgroup in Hutton.

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She is urging neighbours to keep a vigilant watch on the village hall and play area at evenings and weekends.

"It is absolutely disgusting that some kids have broken in, again, to my son's playgroup", said Mrs Greenwood.

"This time, they have caused over £1,200 worth of pointless destruction.

"This is a charity! Please can everyone be alert, and if you have any information at all, please contact the police."

Lancashire Police has been approached for comment.