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Scout hut vandals' £10000 rampage

PUBLISHED: 10:47 16 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:51 23 August 2010

AFTERMATH: Debbie Knowles with the shattered sink

AFTERMATH: Debbie Knowles with the shattered sink

VANDALS caused more than £10,000 damage when they broke into a scout hut and sprayed graffiti, smashed light bulbs and covered walls and floors in paint. Longfield and Hartley s Scout Group headquarters in Larknell Road, Hartley, was broken into overnigh

VANDALS caused more than £10,000 damage when they broke into a scout hut and sprayed graffiti, smashed light bulbs and covered walls and floors in paint.

Longfield and Hartley's Scout Group headquarters in Larknell Road, Hartley, was broken into overnight between 10.30pm on Friday and 8.30am on Saturday.

The front door of the hut was forced open using a large plank of wood. Paint stored inside was splashed across the walls and newly-laid floors, destroying artwork.

The sink in the male toilets was smashed, and the kitchen covered in tomato ketchup. Bulbs from the top floor were removed and smashed all over the main hall floor. The metal front doors of the hut were daubed in white graffiti.

Debbie Knowles, 45, leader of the Explorer group for teenagers aged 14 to 18 and wife of acting Scout leader Stuart Knowles was helping with the clear-up on Monday afternoon. She said: "It is so sad. It makes me upset, and very annoyed. We all put so much time and effort into it all and then someone goes and does something like this.

"A lot of our spare time is spent with the kids, and I don't understand why anyone would do this to them."

The Scout group stores all its equipment in the hut, used regularly for meetings and activities."

David Tremain, 46, chairman of Longfield and Hartley Scouts, said: "I am still feeling total disbelief. I don't think words can describe how I felt when I first saw what they had done. Why anyone would want to do that to a Scout hut is beyond me.

"Luckily, we are not going to be using the hut for the summer months, so we have time to refurbish it. But there are 129 kids who could have been unable to use it because of this." Any offers of help with cleaning up, plumbing or decorating should be made to stuart.knowless@

homecall.co.uk.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them. Call 01732 379217 or Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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