Pre-school forced to close for day after attempted break-in

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Pennington Village Pre-School
Youngsters had to be turned away last Friday due to the damage (Photo: Pennington Village Pre-school)

WOULD-BE raiders forced Pennington Village Pre-School to remain closed last Friday after leaving piles of broken glass in their wake.

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A glass door was smashed, scattering shards both inside and outside, when the charity-run facility in Priestlands Road, Pennington, was targeted last Thursday night. The attack comes months after vandals destroyed toys and threw paint over its garden.

Manager Sarah Wilson told the A&T she was forced to turn youngsters away on Friday morning amid concerns for their safety.

“It’s awful,” she said. “It’s scary to think that people are jumping the fence to target what is a charity-run pre-school.

“If they’re teenagers, there must be parents out there who know that their children are doing this.

“It’s a scary thing to happen in our community, especially at a time when there’s not so many charity-led pre-schools around. This is all money being taken from our children to fix damage done by people who shouldn’t be here.”

Miss Wilson discovered the damage when she arrived for work around 8am and immediately alerted police. But she was disappointed that, similar to the previous vandalism, officers did not attend as it was felt there was likely to be insufficient evidence.

Parents arrived on Friday morning to take their children to the pre-school but were turned away.

“Unfortunately, I had to say to them we were unable to open today as we had to ensure it was safe for our children,” Miss Wilson explained.

The facility caters for up to 38 children, although she stressed not all were due in last Friday.

Normal service was expected to have resumed on Monday morning after clear-up work and the damaged window boarded up.

As reported in the A&T, vandals targeted the pre-school during August bank holiday weekend last year when they scaled its 6ft spiked fence. Its recently refurbished site was spattered with white paint. The offenders also wrecked toys.

Pennington Village Pre-School
Pennington Village Pre-school manager Sarah Wilson following last summer’s vandalism at the facility

The manager added: “This can be a difficult time for charity pre-schools to continue to run, particularly when something like this happens.”

People vented their anger at the attempted break-in in comments on Facebook. One woman wrote: “Oh what is wrong with some people! Hope there’s not too much damage!”

She added her child was crying because she had been prevented from attending.

Another posted: “How could anyone go this low? It is absolutely stupid. Why can’t lowlifes do something better then destroying a pre-school?

Anyone with information about the latest incident should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44200094774, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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