Parents of St John's Primary pupils in Portobello hit out at vandals after football pitch and playground damaged in wrecking spree
Parents have hit out at vandals after a primary school football pitch used by the local community was targeted in a ‘bloody minded’ wrecking spree.
It comes after goalposts on the AstroTurf pitch at St John’s primary school in Portobello were ‘damaged beyond repair’ on Saturday in the latest of a series of attacks in recent weeks causing an estimated £3,000 in damages.
The pitch which is used daily by children also had broken glass left strewn across it, sparking safety fears among parents and staff.
Another attack saw a new polytunnel slashed and the door ripped off just before pupils returned to the school after summer break on August 17.
Parents blame local youths for the attacks, which have occurred since the pitch was opened up to the local community at the request of the council.
Frustration has reached boiling point after the latest incident on Saturday which was reported to police by a resident.
Following the latest attack the school has closed the pitch in the evenings in a bid to prevent further incidents – but it is alleged that teens have since attempted to barge the gates.
Parents claim not enough is being done to tackle the problem while parents say some ‘vocal’ residents have already asked for the pitch to be reopened.
Claire Barrett from the parent teacher council said: "The school has been victim to a sustained campaign of vandalism and we feel abandoned by the council. We’ve seen significant damage due to teenagers causing havoc.
"They have been riding electric scooters across the pitch, leaving litter and broken glass all over it. The astro pitch is our playground where young children play daily. The janitor cleans it up but with broken glass it’s hard to get every piece, it’s just so dangerous. Now goalposts have been destroyed beyond repair. They were smashed in with golf clubs.
“Our polytunnel was also completely ransacked. It’s sheer bloody minded vandalism. We don’t know where to turn, nobody seems to be able to help us.”
The mum-of-three, whose daughters attend the school, added: “There was no prior issue with vandalism until we opened the pitch up to be used by the local community. It’s no coincidence.
"Its so sad and frustrating trying to explain to young kids what has happened. We don’t want to say people can’t use the pitch but we won’t support opening it up to further abuse.
“Police need to up the ante on CCTV and the council has to come up with a sensible way for the facilities to be shared safely."
A Council spokesperson said: “It’s really disappointing to hear about the latest damage to the sports pitch which is open for the benefit of the local community. Lots of local people use the pitch and it’s very sad to see equipment destroyed that the parent council have fundraised for. Mindless vandalism like this is completely unacceptable and we’ll be looking at what additional security measures can be put in pace to prevent any further repeat. We would urge anyone who knows anything about what happened at the weekend to contact police.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We received a report of damage to equipment at a playground on Duddingston Road, Edinburgh, around 7pm on Saturday, August 27.
“Enquiries are at an early stage and ongoing.”