Heartbreak as ‘mindless thugs’ vandalise school garden – again

Crystal Collins, left, and Sharon Newell with some of the children by the pond 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (171116-8678)
Crystal Collins, left, and Sharon Newell with some of the children by the pond Picture: Malcolm Wells (171116-8678)
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STAFF at an infant school say they are heartbroken after a pond was vandalised for the second time this year.

Lee-on-the-Solent Infant School in Elmore Road was targeted by thugs in June, when rubbish was dumped into the school pond, along with one of the park benches.

The vandalised pond Picture: Malcolm Wells (171116-8647)

The vandalised pond Picture: Malcolm Wells (171116-8647)

In October, a group of naval trainees from HMS Collingwood helped to renovate the garden – but now the area has been vandalised again.

According to staff at the school, the children are devastated by what has happened, undoing the work they and the naval cadets had put in to make the area usable.

Gemma Selmes from Lee-on-the-Solent Infant School said: ‘We have had a couple of vandalism incidents this year, and it’s just heartbreaking every time it happens.

‘There’s broken glass everywhere and the bench has been thrown back into the pond – and we are basically right back to square one.

‘The children are absolutely distraught by what has happened – they can’t understand why people would do this – and we all feel for the naval cadets who did such a wonderful job when they came round for the day.’

Gemma says that one of the big obstacles to repairing the damage is the financial cost.

She said: ‘We have to be incredibly careful with our money, and so this is a real setback for us.

‘All of this, just because some mindless thugs decided they wanted to ruin things for other people.

‘The children have been really good about it though – obviously they are heartbroken, but after teachers broke the news to them and it got around through word of mouth, they have been incredibly supportive of each other, which is wonderful to see.

‘We are all so proud of them for how they have responded to the situation.’

The school will now be looking at ways to tackle the persistent vandalism, with the goal of stamping it out completely.

Gemma said: ‘We are going to be working with the local police to see what sort of security measures we need to invest in.

‘If we can stop this from happening in the future, then we will do whatever we can to make that a reality.’