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Vandals strike school tepee

PUBLISHED: 15:45 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:09 23 August 2010

VANDALS caused £4,000 worth of damage by slashing and ransacking an outdoor primary school classroom two weeks after it was built. The tepee-style facility at Painters Ash Primary School, Masefield Road, Northfleet, is based on the borough s link with Pr

VANDALS caused £4,000 worth of damage by slashing and ransacking an outdoor primary school classroom two weeks after it was built.

The tepee-style facility at Painters Ash Primary School, Masefield Road, Northfleet, is based on the borough's link with Princess Pocahontas.

Deputy head Glenn Pollard, 37, was called to the school at about 11pm on Friday as the school alarm sounded.

It was just hours before a delegation of Princess Pocahontas descendents visited Gravesend to mark the 50th anniversary of a statue handover.

Mr Pollard said: "It was slashed with knives, or some other sharp object, and the pots and glass were also smashed on the floor.

"This is mindless vandalism. It is just senseless to destroy something just because you do not get the joy or benefit from what has been achieved here.

"The pupils are devastated, many have not been inside yet and it is these schoolchildren who made this happen, by fundraising and sheer hard work."

School funds contributed £7,000 to the project with an extra £3,000 raised during a sponsored walk on the old A2 in March this year.

It is the second time the outside buildings have been targeted after a canopy for the reception year was stolen at the beginning of the year.

The deputy head, who has been at the school for about four years, first noticed a smashed window in the

main school.

It was only when police helped him check the rest of the premises they noticed the destroyed classroom.

CCTV failed to pick up usable images of the vandals due to poor lighting, an issue school staff are planning to address.

Since the vandalism, £3,200 has been pledged by local businesses, including an anonymous £1,500 donation to pay for damages.

Mr Pollard added: "The children worked so hard to help fund this and it is absolutely disgusting that someone can take a knife and set about destroying it.

"However, it is absolutely fantastic that we have received £3,200 towards the cost of repairs through various donations.

"We are overwhelmed by this generosity and it shows the world is not such a bad place after all.

"I appeal to anyone with information to go to the police. We are now hoping to improve lighting so it will aid the CCTV covering the school in the future."

The all-weather canopy classroom, designed by Outdoor Solutions Ltd, holds up to 30 pupils and was created as part of foundation criteria allowing children access to the outdoors.

If you have any information regarding the incident call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 with information.

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