Pupils and teachers eager to return to school after Christmas were heartbroken to discover their new garden and sheds had been destroyed by “mindless” vandals.

Broughton Primary School re-opened its doors yesterday in the hope of laying the groundwork for spring.

But the state-of-the-art garden, sheds and polytunnel, installed thanks to the help of Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme last year, had been defaced during the two-week holiday.

Headteacher Melissa Kendrick said it was a “soul destroying” way to begin the new year.

She said: “It was a shocking thing to find, and is shocking to think when everyone else is in the festive mood, some people have done this. We can’t believe it.

“The children were mortified by it, they couldn’t believe it either.

“They’ve broken into all the sheds, the storeroom, and have thrown all the emulsion paint around the caretaker’s cupboard which will take a lot of cleaning up.

“The garden sheds, which were padlocked, have all been kicked off and the polytunnel has been slashed.”

According to the headteacher, the damage not only affects pupils, who enjoy gardening club and forest school, but the community as a whole.

Mrs Kendrick explained that the school is used as a ‘hub’ for the whole of Broughton and is the perfect location for local groups such as the Brownies, the drama club and the gymnastic clubs to gather.

She added that it was a “really distressing” thought how “mindless” individuals could set out to cause havoc for such an optimistic and community-based installment.

Mrs Kendrick said: “A lot of time, hard work and effort went into the Bags of Help scheme, and a lot of people supported us by helping us erect the garden to keep the cost down.

“It’s around £2,000, the cost of the damage. Volunteers and parents working in the garden club are devastated too.”

Roger Jones, the father of a former pupil and a Broughton resident who has dedicated much of his time to tending to the garden, said he was “angry” when he discovered the news.

He said: “Why do people do this sort of thing? They had tried to set things on fire by the looks of it because the first aid box had been smouldered and there were tea lights everywhere.

“They’ve taken the roof off the shed, kicked in all the windows and broken all the locks. They even pinched a box of biscuits.”

Mr Jones said he would fix what he can, and would try to tape up the polytunnel and buy some more wood to fix the doors. The windows, he said, would “not be cheap” to fix.

Although it was a shocking way to begin 2018, Mrs Kendrick said it would help teach the children “resilience” in the face of unfortunate events.

She added: “It’s not a nice way to start the year, but we will pick ourselves up. The school will probably do a leaflet drop for parents to see what can be done.

“Things can be put right.”

A North Wales Police (NWP) spokesman confirmed they were called at 9.30am yesterday.

Anyone with information can contact NWP by phoning 101, quoting reference number W001803.