Outrage after school’s sensory garden is trashed by vandals

Pupils at Wallisdean School in Fareham with the artwork destroyed by vandals Picture: Lyn Braund Photography
Pupils at Wallisdean School in Fareham with the artwork destroyed by vandals Picture: Lyn Braund Photography
Julian Brown (60) with his family (l-r) son-in-law Paul Saunders (29), daughter Sara Saunders (28), wife Karen Brown (60) and daughter Kate Brown (31).

Picture: Sarah Standing (170958-5461) PPP-170721-151239001

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VANDALS broke into an infant school and caused hundreds of pounds of damage to a sensory garden.

The incident happened at Wallisdean Infant School, in Wallisdean Avenue, Fareham between 6pm on Tuesday and 6am on Wednesday.

Mirrors were smashed, benches broken, plants ripped up and artwork created by the pupils, who are all aged between four and seven, was left impaled through the railings.

Parents reacted with shock and outrage at the damage, which was discovered by headteacher Sandra Cammish when she arrived at work.

She quickly tidied the area so the children would not see that their hard work, paper-mache animals, had been destroyed.

Sarah Hannan, admin officer at the school, said: ‘The sensory garden was created by the PTA and everything in there the children can touch and there’s mirrors and seats for the parents.

‘They destroyed all the seating, smashed the mirrors and caused lots of damage to the plants. It was about making a mess more than anything else.

‘The children had made mini-beasts and they destroyed all those and left them impaled on to the railings – that was the most heartbreaking part of it all.’

A fundraising campaign was started by a parent, Kelly Clapson, on Wednesday and it raised more than £300 in just one day, with other donations and offers of help flooding in to the school.

Mrs Hannan said: ‘It’s a horrible thing to happen but it has brought the whole school community together. It’s really shown us what a good crowd we have got here.

‘We have got around £500 now, it’s been incredible.

‘It didn’t even cross our minds to start fundraising but a group of parents did it, which was very touching.’

She said the school had now stopped taking donations and that it would now be considering how to spend the money and how to renovate the garden before next spring.

A police spokesman said they were treating the incident as criminal damage and the incident was under investigation.

They urged anyone with information to call police on 101, quoting reference 44150419379.

This latest incident follows a spate of vandalism at St Francis School, a special school in Fareham, which suffered criminal damage worth £15,000.

The last break-in happened on November 8. Since then two 17-year-old boys were arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and have been bailed until January 4 pending further enquiries.