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Parents' anger after yobs wreck children's garden in west Cumbria

Furious parents and staff at a children’s centre have hit out at heartless yobs who went on a wrecking spree.

Joshua Stewart in the vandalised area

Vandals pushed a bench against the fence at the Howgill Family Centre in Egremont to climb into the grounds before ruining the youngster’s gardening project.

Plants and flowers, which were potted by the Open Gates Little 2’s Group, were strewn across the play area and the vandals even stole the strawberry plants which the youngsters were growing to eat at snack time.

Early years supervisor Jan Casey said when she spotted the damage on Tuesday morning she was shocked – but this soon turned to anger.

“The first thing I noticed was the big, black plant pot which had a sunflower in had been kicked over,” said Mrs Casey.

“The strawberry plants have gone, tomato plants have been thrown onto the ground and various little pots with plants in have been thrown over both sides of the fence. There was soil everywhere.”

She immediately reported the damage to police, who have vowed to step up patrols in the area, as well as walking around the centre to try to deter the yobs. You can see toddler’s toys inside of the building, so the people who done this know these were young children’s plants – I can’t believe that somebody could do such a thing,” she added.

Parents of the children, aged two and three, are as equally appalled as Mrs Casey.

Emma Stewart’s three-year-old son Joshua was involved with the gardening scheme and she said she couldn’t believe what had happened when she heard.

“I think it’s disgusting,” she told the News & Star. “Whoever has done this knew they were children’s plants and that makes it so much worse.”

This isn’t the first time that the centre, on the Orgill estate, has been vandalised. Sandbags have been burst, guttering has been pulled off and used condoms and smashed bottles have been left on the grounds.

But because the area has been trouble free for many months, Mrs Casey said that they decided to start the gardening project earlier this year.

After it’s latest Ofsted visit, inspectors told Mrs Casey that if the group wanted to achieve “outstanding” status, it should allow children to try their hands at gardening.

And staff have been working tirelessly with the youngsters, working on the outside area, planting seeds and watching them turn into flowers, fruit and vegetables, which they could eat at snack time.

Mrs Casey is now appealing for anyone with information into the incident to report it to police. She is also asking members of the public to look out for future trouble.

Contact police on 101 with any information.

Have your say

@Tessa. As stated, CCTV footage IS admissable as evidence in a Court. After the culprits have been dealt with, they'll doubtless think twice next time. As regards the Police and Crime Commissioner, Would you have faith in someone who keeps the Chief Constable suspended on full salary despite the IPCC having cleared him of the allegations made against him, whilst paying the Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside Police the same salary to act as Chief Constable for Cumbria Constabulary? I most definately can't!

Posted by Stemax1960 on 19 August 2013 at 17:56

Even if you catch the scumbags.they will only get a slap on the wrist.this country went soft a long time ago

Posted by Stewart on 19 August 2013 at 17:13

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