‘Mindless’ vandalism leaves school playground trashed

P1 pupils Gracie Gaughan and Imogen Afshari assess the garden damage
P1 pupils Gracie Gaughan and Imogen Afshari assess the garden damage
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PUPILS and parents at a primary school have been left distraught after vandals trashed its playground.

Stunned staff arrived at Leith Primary to discover picnic benches broken beyond repair after being jumped on “as if they were trampolines”, a window smashed and a school garden ripped up, with dozens of plants and vegetables scattered over the playground.

Headteacher Alasdair Friend said it was the worst act of vandalism he had seen since arriving at the school nearly eight years ago and that P1 pupils were particularly upset about the destruction of their garden, where plants and vegetables had been tended over a period of weeks.

He said: “There was no sign of beer cans or drugs, or that somebody had been blundering around. It seemed to me that someone had gone from A to B to C and deliberately destroyed what was there.

“The most distressing thing was that the majority of plants in the garden – about 40 or 50 – were deliberately ripped out and scattered around.”

The bill for the damage caused could run to hundreds of pounds, he added.

Parents said they were “dismayed” when they were told about the attack.

Parent council member Evie Murray, whose daughter is in P1, said she believed teenagers “egging each other on and showing off” were responsible.

“I think we just felt a bit gutted when we found out,” she said.

“Many of the plants are not easy to replace and lots of work went into that garden. We’re up and down every day, watering and caring for the plants, and keeping a check on them.

“When I discovered it had happened, I just let out a sigh and felt my shoulders sink. I thought, ‘why would they do it?’.”

She added: “We are determined to carry on with the garden, and we’ve already put in new tomato plants. We’ll be looking to plant more to cheer the kids up.”

Police said the “mindless” attack took place between 4pm on Friday and 7am on Sunday, and appealed for witnesses to come forward.

Sergeant Adam Smith, from Police Scotland Edinburgh Division, said: “The pupils and staff at the school have all been left extremely upset at the damage that has been caused 
during this mindless act. We are conducting inquiries in the local area and are keen to hear from anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity in or around Leith Primary over the weekend.”

Anyone with information on the attack can call police on 101.

johnpaul.holden@jpress.co.uk