A community nursery has suffered serious rain damage after thieves stripped lead from its roof, hampering the work of the centre during its busiest time of year.
The recent heavy rainfall caused “severe” damage to the interior of the Livingston Family Centre, in West Lothian, following the early-morning swoop by metal thieves on Tuesday.
Children’s toys and cots were among the water-damaged items at the facility, which works to help families in need of support.
Those who use the centre can include vulnerable families and people with learning difficulties.
The cost of the damage has run to at least £20,000, a spokesman for West Lothian Council confirmed.
Officials stressed the impact of the theft on the community, saying the nursery is now unable to offer a full service over the school holidays.
Danny Logue, executive councillor for social policy at West Lothian Council, said: “The Livingston Family Centre offers invaluable assistance to families in need of support. It is absolutely appalling that anyone would steal from this facility.
“The theft of the lead has resulted in severe damage to the internal building which has affected toys, children’s cots and other items.
“The impact, therefore, on parents, children and staff is enormous, especially given that this is the centre’s busiest time of the year during the school summer break.
“Our staff are working hard to ensure that alternative provisions are put in place as quickly as possible, but that may take some time.”
Police are appealing for information to help them track down the suspects, who have not yet been traced.
At around 5.40am on Tuesday, three men were spotted pushing three shopping trolleys along Livingston’s Ladywell East Road, officers said.
When police got to the area, they recovered the trolleys, which contained lead believed to have been stolen from the centre.
Detective Inspector David Pinkey, of Police Scotland, said: “As a consequence of the theft of lead and vandalism to the roof of the building, heavy rainfall caused significant damage to the interior of the Livingston Family Centre.
“The impact on the community is severe as the nursery will be unable to provide a full service to families over the summer holidays.
“Inquiries are continuing and we are seeking to trace those involved in this theft.”