Pupils and staff at a north-east school for children with additional support needs have been left “shocked and upset” after a group of vandals targeted their outdoor area.
The wooded space at Westfield School in Fraserburgh features a mud kitchen, shelter, swing, bridge, seating and bug hotel.
But they have been broken “beyond repair” after a group of around nine teenagers were picked up on CCTV at the back of the Argyll Road school.
This is the second time in a matter of days that the outdoor space has been targeted after being “upended” last weekend.
Kerri Dalton, Head Teacher of Westfield School, said while she was “disappointed” by the incident she praised those who had been in touch to offer help to rebuild the wrecked equipment.
She said: “Whilst, everyone connected to our school is very disappointed about this instance of vandalism, we are hugely grateful to the fantastic response from the community who have offered support.
“I would like to thank them all for their assistance.”
Councillor Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee chairwoman, said she was “absolutely disgusted” by the actions of those involved.
She said: “I am absolutely disgusted that vandals would stoop so low as to ruin an outdoor wooded area at Westfield School.
“Members of the local community have worked together to specifically create this peaceful place for pupils to enjoy.
“I hope this mindless destruction does not deter the school and community to build similar special places in future. If anyone has any information, please contact Police Scotland immediately.”
A statement issued by Westfield School on Facebook on Monday urged parents to speak to their children about the vandalism.
It said: “The pupils and staff at Westfield School were shocked and upset this morning when they couldn’t make use of the school’s wooded area.
“Over the last two years staff, parents and several members of our community have contributed and worked hard to create an exciting outdoor area for our pupils to enjoy.
“It was upended last weekend, but this morning the area was found to be ruined. Our mud kitchen, shelter, swing, bridge, seating and bug hotel were all in pieces. They have been mostly broken beyond repair.
“Our CCTV picks up eight to nine young people in their teens around the back of the school and in the woods. We have never had a problem with young people making use of the different areas around our school but this becomes an issue when things are destroyed.
“We have been saving and planning other outdoor opportunities for our pupils to take part in but this is making us re-think.
“Please speak to the young people in your family, on behalf of myself, pupils and staff from Westfield School and make sure that they are not part of the small group who are doing this.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Around 3.25pm on Monday, May 10, officers received a report of a vandalism to an outdoor learning area at Westfield School, Argyll Road, Fraserburgh.
“Inquiries will be carried out into the damage caused and anyone with information should contact officers through 101 quoting reference 2092 of May 10.”