A nursery blighted by vandalism is calling on the culprits to think twice about the devastation they are causing.

Staff at Kirktonholme Mearnswood in Newton Mearns were left dismayed once again as they arrived at work last week to discover that the premises had been targeted.

The latest incident in an ongoing problem saw vandals wreak havoc on a woodland area, even leaving a scarecrow hanging by its neck from a tree.

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Samantha Kerr, the manager of the establishment on Stewarton Road, told the Barrhead News: “It’s been an ongoing issue for a few years now.

“In 2019, we had a big Gruffalo wooden house that was burned down.

“A lot of work had been put into that, but it was ruined and we had to replace and renovate our full wood by putting in a container to accommodate losing it.

“Usually it does seem to be when the better weather kicks in there is vandalism in our woodland area and, over the past few weeks, it’s maybe happened two or three times.”

The incident, which took place over the weekend of May 11 and 12, was, however, the “worst since the Gruffalo house was burned down.”

Barrhead News: Some of the destructionSome of the destruction (Image: Supplied)

It left staff with a mad dash to fix up the area, so that it was safe for the children to use.

The nursery has also since put up a camera that looks over both woodland areas.

Barrhead News: Some of the destructionSome of the destruction (Image: Newsquest)

“I was actually walking past at the field area on the Saturday and there were two young girls climbing over the wall and I asked what they were doing and said if they came back I would contact the police,” explained Samantha.

“There was another younger boy as well that said he was ‘just chilling’ there and I said the exact same thing to him.

“At that point, there was rubbish lying about and a couple of things knocked over, but when we came in on the Monday, we discovered our wee fairy garden type area had been completely destroyed.

“They had burned some of our resources in the firepit as well. There was a load of stuff that had been smashed and a lot of the furniture and resources had been flung about.

“It’s deflating because our staff put so much work in, as do the children.”

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The actions, however, are not just impacting those at the nursery emotionally, but they are also taking their toll financially and Samantha is concerned about the mounting cost of this type of behaviour if it continues.

She reckons the latest incident caused £200 to £300 of damage as many of the things are not those that can cheaply replaced as they are wooden or bigger resources or need to be bought from expensive early years suppliers.

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"It's really just to let these children know the impact it is having on our children and staff's mental health as well," added Samantha. 

“I don't think they understand the cost of things and the continued investment that is getting put into this.

“It’s really to reiterate to them that the damage they are doing financially mentally and physically is really just not acceptable at all.”

Barrhead News: Staff had worked hard to make the area a lovely space for the children. This is it before the vandals struck this monthStaff had worked hard to make the area a lovely space for the children. This is it before the vandals struck this month (Image: Supplied)

Barrhead News: The fairy garden before it was destroyed by vandalsThe fairy garden before it was destroyed by vandals (Image: Newsquest)

Following the incident last week, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 11.40am on Monday, May 13, we received a report of vandalism at a premises on Stewarton Road, Newton Mearns.

“The incident happened between 6pm on Friday, May 10, and 7.45am on Monday, May 13."

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“Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 1313 of May 13, 2024,” they added.