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Keith youngsters "distraught" after vandalism at favourite play area


By Jonathan Clark

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The damage caused by a fire, with trees burned and knocked down. Picture: Becky Saunderson
The damage caused by a fire, with trees burned and knocked down. Picture: Becky Saunderson

KEITH'S youngest children have been left "distraught" by vandalism at one of their favourite play areas.

A small wooded area, located at the bottom of the astroturf pitch beside Keith Grammar School, was vandalised recently.

A small woodland area located at the bottom of the astroturf pitch in Keith has been vandalised. Picture: Becky Saunderson
A small woodland area located at the bottom of the astroturf pitch in Keith has been vandalised. Picture: Becky Saunderson

Vandals burned and destroyed trees, left broken glass on the ground and ripped out the saplings that young children had planted to celebrate the Queen's platinum jubilee.

Lots of the town's nurseries, as well as Keith Primary and Keith Grammar, regularly use the wooded area to play and learn about nature.

Keith Play Centre nursery manager Carlene Harding (left) helped children plant saplings as part of the Queen's platinum jubilee celebrations.
Keith Play Centre nursery manager Carlene Harding (left) helped children plant saplings as part of the Queen's platinum jubilee celebrations.
Saplings planted by children at Keith Play Centre have been destroyed by vandals.
Saplings planted by children at Keith Play Centre have been destroyed by vandals.

Keith Play Centre nursery manager Carlene Harding, who takes her children to the area for a full day every Tuesday, said: "There has been a lot of upset caused. The children are distraught.

"The wooded area is used by about five or six nurseries and schools to promote woodland skills and to teach children to respect nature.

"Most devastating for us, 15 saplings we planted to mark the Queen's jubilee were pulled out of the ground, burned and destroyed, and a tree that children hung their swings on was cut down.

Children from Keith Play Centre enjoy a campfire at the wooded area, before the vandalism took place.
Children from Keith Play Centre enjoy a campfire at the wooded area, before the vandalism took place.
Children used to enjoy swinging on the trees.
Children used to enjoy swinging on the trees.

"The children had put a lot of effort into this, so that's devastated them most."

This isn't the first time the area has been vandalised, with a similar incident taking place in November. Last time, though, the damage caused was much less significant.

This time, there were reports of an explosion, with flames visible from the road, as the vandalism took place.

The damage was discovered by a member of the public on January 10.

The vandals left broken glass in the area, which is used by schools and nurseries across Keith.
The vandals left broken glass in the area, which is used by schools and nurseries across Keith.

A Moray Council spokesperson said: “Any act of deliberate vandalism is disappointing, particularly in an area so well used by nursery and school pupils.

"Our teams attended to ensure the area was suitable and safe for use again and we would encourage anyone with information of this, or any other, incident to contact Police Scotland on 101.”


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