Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth nursery trashed by vandals

Arundel Court Primary Academy Nursery Image copyright Arundel Court Primary Academy and Nursery
Image caption Portsmouth's Arundel Court Primary Academy and Nursery have been targeted twice this month

Vandals have caused more than £20,000 worth of damage at a nursery and school after splashing paint across carpets and walls and smashing electrical equipment.

Portsmouth's Arundel Court Primary Academy and Nursery were targeted overnight between Monday and Tuesday.

Headteacher Karen Stocks said staff were "devastated" but the damage had "brought the community together".

A 14-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of two burglaries.

Hampshire Constabulary said there had also been a break-in at the school on 17 February.

During the most recent break-in the nursery was mainly affected, according to Ms Stocks.

"The carpets, an interactive whiteboard, a new telephone and photocopier have all been covered with paint," she said.

"A cabinet was smashed into and a mobile phone and our petty cash was taken, three staff iPads were also stolen but the kids' ones were just smashed up - like they'd been stamped on."

Fire extinguishers were set off and "wasted" at the nursery - damaging toys - while all 20 in the school were also let off, she added.

Image copyright Arundel Court Primary Academy & Nursery
Image caption The nursery was badly affected in the latest break-in with paint squirted across carpets and walls

Ms Stocks said: "That destruction has caused so much heartache for everybody but it has definitely brought the community together.

"Parents and older pupils have offered to help with the clean-up operation and we have had offers of free carpets, paint and blinds - it's unbelievable how incredible people have been. We are overwhelmed."

A post on the school's Facebook page about the damage has been shared more than 4,000 times and attracted 1,000 comments.

Michael John James, who runs a local cleaning company, said: "I'd like to offer my services and help where possible with the carpets. No charge."

Sophie Groves added: "Why, why, why? Especially to a nursery that innocent little children go to."

The school said the nursery building was closed "until further notice" while industrial cleaning is carried out.

Shortened sessions for nursery children are being held at the school.

Image copyright Arundel Court Primary Academy & Nursery
Image caption An interactive whiteboard and computers were also damaged

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