THIEVES have targeted a country park pond designed to educate and entertain disabled and disadvantaged children.
Volunteer group Friends of Alyn Waters have worked tirelessly to create a pond dipping area so schoolchildren from Gwersyllt and the rest of Wrexham can learn about wildlife.
Now material used to line the pond has been stolen, in what the group claim is the third attack on the project since it began.
The successful installation of the lining material is vital as it prevents water from leaking out of the pond.
Brenda Maudling, secretary for Friends of Alyn Waters, said the incident has brought her close to giving up on the project.
She said: “I am absolutely gutted.
“When I realised what had happened I was so cross I was almost in tears with anger and frustration.
“And it really makes me wonder why we bother.
“We have already had to repair the liner twice before because vandals have thrown fenceposts and boulders into the dip which has torn holes in it.
“And now it looks like the attacks have escalated into theft because an entire section has been cut out and taken away, that’s more than just mindless vandalism.
“This project is supposed to benefit the whole community, for children to go and have fun and learn but at the moment it’s just not safe for anyone.”
The group has won a grant for the pond from Keep Wales Tidy and has raised funds to landscape the surrounding area but they cannot afford to replace the liner and will have to just patch it up and hope it holds.
James Porter, vice chairman for the group, added: “Much time, money and effort has gone into this work but yet again we’ve been thwarted by mindless, selfish thieves and vandals.
“As well as this, the park is constantly under threat from arsonists who have set fire to woodland and shrubs on several occasions; buzzards have been shot and newly planted trees uprooted.”
Cllr David Griffiths, who has long campaigned against anti-social behaviour in the park added: “This is a really despicable act. I just do not understand how somebody can do that.
“I suspect that whoever did it would think twice if they realised how much misery it causes.”
But despite the heartache, Brenda has pledged the group will continue to fight for the project.
She added: “We’re not going to give up. It’s such a wonderful park and we’re so passionate about it that we’re determined not to let them win.”
Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them on 101 if in Wales or 0845 6077002 for the English language line.
See full story in the Leader