Scout leaders have hit out after part of a group’s £10,000 community project was targeted by vandals - just weeks after it was put in place.
1st Burnmoor Scout Group, in Fence Houses, recently installed a polytunnel at their headquarters to help youngsters and schoolchildren in the area learn more about nature and growing plants.
Cash for the addition was handed over thanks to a grant from the National Lottery as they look to create an outdoor activity centre, complete with an archery range, climbing wall and garden.
But over the weekend, yobs broke into the garden and slashed parts of the tunnel, meaning it won’t last for anywhere near as long as hoped.
Scout group leader Allan Forster told the Echo: “I felt sick in the gut when I first came down and saw this.
“It’s quite a big tunnel, 18 metres by eight metres, and although they haven’t destroyed it, the life expectancy would’ve been about 20 years, and now it’s only going to last for about three or four - at a push, seven.
I felt sick in the gut when I first came down and saw it.Allan Forster, 1st Burnmoor Scout Group leader
“We’ve had to tape it up in the meantime. Three years’ work has gone into this and it’s so disappointing.”
Children from nearby Woodlea Primary, many of who are scouts at 1st Burnmoor themselves, have been at the site since the vandalism was carried out, to plant seeds, with youngsters from Burnmoor School set to visit later this week.
1st Burnmoor Scouts was formed in 1929 and had several homes before its headquarters, Robert Forster House, named after Allan Forster’s grandfather, was opened in 1975.
More than 90 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts are affiliated to the organisation.
Mr Forster also called on the community to help catch those responsible and bring them to justice, but added that should the site be targeted again, it could put the whole community project at risk.
Police have confirmed that they are aware of the mindless act and are investigating.
“I put something on Facebook after this happened and it’s had 20,000 views,” said Mr Forster.
“People are really irate about it.
“The police have been down and taken evidence from the scene so hopefully that will help.
“We really need to catch people who have done this and stop them coming back to cause more damage.
“It’s very worrying for us and all of the volunteers are devastated.”
The group are now appealing for donations towards repairs, which members of the public can do by searching for 1st Burnmoor Scout Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr Forster said: “We are asking for donations towards the repairs to the tunnel and for CCTV to be installed.
“We also ask for old garden furniture, pots, gravel, and compost if people can give.”
The vandalism is thought to have taken place between 5pm on Saturday and 10am on Sunday.