Children and staff at two primary schools have been left devastated after vandals ransacked their playgrounds.
Extensive damage was inflicted on the play equipment, sheds, picnic benches and guttering at Malton Community Primary School and St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School, both on Highfield Road, some time between Saturday night and early on Sunday morning.
Police are now appealing for help to trace the culprits.
PC Mark Rees, of Malton’s Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “It is beyond belief what anyone would hope to gain from damaging small children’s play equipment and facilities.
“This has upset a lot of young children whose Monday morning back at school was ruined.”
The vandalism was worst at Malton CP School with the cost of the damage estimated at £1,000.
“We are saddened and disappointed,” said Kelly Anderson, head teacher of Malton CP School. “Our outdoor environment is an intrinsic part of school and is used for both learning and play.
“Children and staff are all working incredibly hard to develop the outdoors for this very purpose and to arrive at school and see that it has been defaced and spoilt is very distressing.
“The Parent Teacher Association are working incredibly hard to raise funds to help improve our school. We will now have to ask for some funds to replace items which have been damaged by vandals. Our school is the heart of this community and both the children and our families will be upset by this.”
Picnic benches, weaving equipment, sheds, drain pipes and the school’s chicken house were damaged, she said.
St Mary’s, meanwhile, escaped severe damage with the vandals breaking into three of the school sheds.
But head teacher David Harrison said the attack was “terribly sad.”
“We have not had any serious damage for a long, long time and then it has only been the odd minor thing,” he said. “Ours was just three sheds. It was not as noticeable as next door’s damage. Obviously, we are all disappointed that someone came in and vandalised our school.
“It’s not something you want to be faced with when you come in after the weekend.”
PC Rees called for help from the public to find the vandals, pledging that any information will be “treated in the strictest of confidence.”
Anyone with information should contact PC Rees or PC Jane Jones at Malton Police Station on 101. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, anyone who wishes to remain anonymous, can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.