'Brutes' take children's play equipment
"Brutish" thieves who stole large items of play gear from the Stoke Kindergarten in Nelson left children heartbroken, a teacher says.
The kindergarten's 30 pupils went to play on their large wooden frame house on Thursday morning, only to find it had been stolen along with a picnic table.
Head teacher Sue Knox said it was a "brutish act that lacked humanity".
"The children came out to play and we noticed a huge gap in the play area and suddenly realised someone had come in over the fence and stolen the table and frame (house)."
It was a big drama for the children to come out and see something they held so dear had gone, she said.
They would build, paint and use their imagination to perform dramatic play in the frame house.
"The children are absolutely heartbroken."
However, they were resilient and had become detectives trying to find clues to the theft.
Mrs Knox said the frame house was heavy and would have been awkward to move. She estimated four people would have been needed to lift it.
"It would have taken a great deal of effort for someone to lug it over the fence."
While the neighbours saw nothing, a parent saw a group of suspicious youths in the street at about 2.30pm on Wednesday.
Kindergarten staff had alerted parents, the police and the community.
"We hope that someone might see the frame and bring it back to us."
Their insurance would not cover the loss because of the excess, she said.
"We have such a small budget. Kindergarten is free to children and we take care of kids sometimes all day. We have very little to work with."
Besides, the frame in particular was invaluable, as the children would paint and display their art on it.
Micah Dunn, who specially dressed as a superman to play on the frame, said he was very upset.
He was planning on jumping off it to play a game of superheroes.
The 4-year-old did not know what happened and could not understand why anyone would do such a thing.
"It made me feel sad because we used to play on the house and we looked forward to playing on the house."
He would sometimes like to pretend it was a building and he would paint and hammer on it.
The Nelson Mail