Vandals hit school again

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 07:59 23/01/2014
David Nott
Derek Flynn

Pointless destruction: Mayfield School principal David Nott with the fruit trees that were cut down in the latest vandalism incident at the school.

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A Blenheim primary school has been targeted by vandals for the third time in less than a year.

Mayfield School in Hutcheson St was vandalised during the past week, less than two weeks before pupils are due to start the new school year.

Irrigation to the children's garden was cut, a water fountain was ripped off a wall again, shed doors were kicked in, and fruit trees planted by year 6 leavers last year were cut down.

Former pupil Jack Uren, 11, was one of the 10 year 6s who planted the trees last year. The news that they had been cut down was "gutting", he said.

"It's really sad. They're a memory of our years at school, and [the vandals have] wrecked it for us."

Jack planted a nectarine tree just a few days before he finished primary school. The children had wanted to create an orchard so people visiting the school could see it, and to grow fruit, he said.

He asked whoever was responsible for ruining the trees to leave the garden alone. "Please don't ever do that to our trees again."

Mayfield School principal David Nott said the cost of repairing the latest bout of vandalism would have to come from the school budget.

"That's money we can't spend in the classroom, on children, on teaching. That's the most gutting thing."

Last year's year 6s planted 10 fruit trees in December. Three, including an apricot tree and a nectarine tree, were cut at the base with what appeared to be secateurs.

The trees were part of the children's long-term plan for their edible garden, an outdoor classroom and an orchard.

"They were looking good with all the rain we've had," Mr Nott said.

On Tuesday last week, a parent reported water gushing from a building at the school. A pipe to a water fountain had been kicked off the wall.

The fountain was fixed, but was discovered on the ground again at the weekend.

"I don't know if they're bored teenagers or if they're people with nothing better to do," Mr Nott said of the vandals.

"There's absolutely nothing to be gained from it, it's just random acts of vandalism."

Last year two teenage boys were arrested following the vandalism of vegetable gardens at Mayfield School and Whitney Street School.

An arrest was also made after someone fell through a skylight at Mayfield School during a burglary, causing $1800 worth of damage.

Anyone with information about the latest spate of vandalism is asked to phone the Blenheim police station on 03 578 5279. Information can also be given anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- The Marlborough Express

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