Gosport charity Marvels and Meltdowns horrified as yobs break in for a third time

'˜DESPICABLE' yobs have ransacked the home of a charity for the third time in a matter of days, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 4:30 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:03 pm
Shandrika Day, co-founder and chairman and Tricia Lyons, co-founder and treasurer for Marvels and Meltdowns Picture: Sarah Standing (180582-254)

Founders at Marvels and Meltdowns, in Gosport, have been left devastated by the latest spate of mindless hooliganism.

« Click on the link above to see more pictures of the damage» 

The charity's Mill Lane base was trashed by louts '“ believed to be teenagers '“ last night.

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Shandrika Day, co-founder and chairman and Tricia Lyons, co-founder and treasurer for Marvels and Meltdowns Picture: Sarah Standing (180582-254)

At least 13 tins of paint were taken from the site and splashed across the play centre and nearby tennis courts.

Toys, meant for children with ADHD and autism, were thrown around and a newly refurbished storage shed was broken into, with racks ripped off the walls. A wooden archway was also damaged.

It was the third attack in the space of eight days at the Gosport site, which has left charity bosses with a bill that could soar to as much as £3,000.

Dejected Shandrika Day, co-founder, discovered the damage at 7.15am and was left heartbroken.

Paint spattered after a vandal attack at Marvels and Meltdowns in Gosport Picture: Sarah Standing (180582-213)

She said: '˜This is disgusting, I don't know what else to say.

'˜We won't let this beat us. We won't give them the satisfaction. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and we are not going anywhere.

'˜It's very, very frustrating '“  we do this day in, day out, not for a wage but because we love to.

'˜Things like this are just making it ten times harder for us.'

Marvels and Meltdowns in Gosport has been trashed by vandals - for the third time in two weeks. Picture: David George

Tricia Lyons, fellow co-founder, added: '˜They've ransacked the shed. Everything is trashed.'

The previous attacks took place on Sunday, July 22 and Monday, July 23.

Both of Marvels and Meltdowns' sheds had been broken into by the vandals and the contents strewn across the lawn. Some of the items had been stolen. 

The guinea pig hutches had been kicked in, water bottles were thrown away and volunteers had to search to find the animals. One was under the hutch and the other hidden under the straw inside the hutch. 

Children's bikes had also been thrown across the grounds and some have been damaged. 

The damage prompted an appeal, which raised more than £1,400 for the charity.

However, now Marvels and Meltdowns are looking to tighten their security by raising the walls around the centre and installing new CCTV, donated by Agile ICT for Education, based near Fareham.

The latest spree has sparked concerns over Hampshire Constabulary's ability to respond and investigate break-ins following cutbacks in police budgets.

Councillor Peter Chegwyn, Leesland ward councillor for Gosport Borough Council, said: '˜It's despicable that people seem to be targeting groups that do so much good work. It's desperately sad.

'˜Marvels and Meltdowns do such amazing work for the community, it's incredibly disheartening to hear they are repeatedly being broken into.'

Cllr Chegwyn added police Gosport were stretched to the limit and simply did not have the resources to investigate crimes like this.

'˜You never see a police officer in Gosport. They don't have the resources to respond unless the break-in is taking place in that moment.

'˜The police cuts have certainly made it harder to catch criminals and the criminals know it.

'˜Sadly we're seeing the worst effects on spending cuts to police and council services beginning to bite in areas like this. Police don't have the resources to respond or investigate fully. It does mean that people and groups like Marvels and Meltdowns suffer.'

People are being urged to donate to the charity and support a fundraiser to pay for the damage. To help, see https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/marvelsandmeltdownsadhdandautismfamilycentre?utm_term=ZnADwvyd8

A spokesman for Hampshire police said officers attended the initial break-in and spoken with the charity. The official added: '˜This morning  we received a further call reporting more vandalism, we have not attended in relation to this new report yet.

'˜Enquiries are ongoing. Anyone who has seen anything suspicious in the area should call 101 quoting 44180276638.'