GOATS used by Explosion Museum in Gosport to keep vegetation down have been taken away after yobs set fire to their bedding.
The 15 animals were being used at the museum in Priddy’s Hard to chew away grass covering the surrounding ramparts.
But vandals have tipped over their water troughs and set fire to the straw they sleep on.
The goats have now been returned to a farm while the museum works on tightening security at the 10-acre site.
The museum’s visitor services officer Marc Farrance said: ‘It’s shocking. I can’t understand their mentality.
‘The mindless attitude of a small minority of people is spoiling it for everyone else.
‘The tipping over of the water was a nuisance but not the worst thing because we just put them back.
‘The big difficulty is the fire problem.
‘Because they need bedding we put straw in the buildings.
‘There have been two quite serious fires.
‘It looks like kids have gone in and flicked matches at the straw; it’s gruesome.
‘Fortunately there weren’t any injuries to the goats.
‘We have taken the decision to send the goats back but hopefully this will be a temporary measure.’
The museum is now going to invest in new fencing to keep intruders out.
Paul Dunton, 75, of nearby Orion Avenue, said: ‘I live just by the ramparts so I’ve been used to seeing them chomping away.
‘They do an excellent job because the ramparts are quite overgrown.
‘We were hoping the number of goats could eventually increase.
‘But these people have been setting fire to their bedding and tipping over the water troughs.
‘People living around here have been trying to keep an eye out but we can’t do much in the middle of the night.’
The museum had been planning to rotate the herds of goats and this herd would have eventually been returned to the farm.
Museum staff hope to make the site safe enough for a new herd to return.