Anger as vandals destroy nursery garden

Vandals target Jack n Jill Pre-school at Stone Lodge Youth and Community Centre in Ipswich

Vandals target Jack n Jill Pre-school at Stone Lodge Youth and Community Centre in Ipswich - Credit: Jack n Jill Pre-school

Vandals targeted an Ipswich pre-school, trashing their garden and heightening fears of a more serious attack in the future.

In the latest in a series of attacks, Jack n Jill Pre-school, based at Stone Lodge Youth and Community Centre in Hawthorn Drive, was a target of arson over the weekend. 

Suffolk police believe the attack happened between 6pm on April 30 and 10am on May 3 and saw a  large free-standing umbrella set alight. A plastic composter, a broom and some chairs were also damaged

Michelle Hurren, manager at Jack n Jill Pre-school, said the repair bill will be around £200.

"It's not a massive amount of money, just things are getting worse," Ms Hurren said. "All the work to the garden is gone. It's very disheartening to staff and hard to see it all destroyed."

She added: "We are a charity so money is not something we have really at this time.

"What worries me most of all is it could catch on fire and the building could go up next."

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Stone Lodge Youth and Community Centre is also home to Suffolk sight and hearing loss provider Sensing Change and Chantry Library.

Neighbour Stonelodge Park has also reportedly seen an increase in anti-social behaviour and drugs. 

Ms Hurren added that "it wasn't very nice" to see equipment strewn all over the garden this morning and was thankful it was cleaned up before the children arrived. 

"One little girl saw it and did say she didn't do it," she said. "I said 'I know you wouldn't it'. She knows not to."

She asked the vandals to "please stop".

This is the second time that there has been a fire at the preschool with another incident on April 14. 

But she said the response from the community has been amazing. 

"I cannot praise the community enough for their support," she said. "They have offered so much like setting up a Just Giving page, sending us messages and raising money. 

"Police have also been great and have visited us twice over the past month.

"It's brought us to tears."

Turning her attention to the vandals, she said: "Please stop and think about others. Innocent children and parents rely on us."

Any witnesses or who knows who was responsible should contact Ipswich police on 101 quoting crime number 37/22747/21. 

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