A community-run nursery in Sheffield has appealed for help to catch 'unforgivable' thieves who 'stole from children'.
Burglars struck at Milestones Childcare in Shiregreen on Wednesday evening, ripping out a fencing panel and breaking the gravel board in the process.
They were caught in the act on camera and the nursery has shared CCTV footage of the raid in an attempt to track them down.
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The fence was installed using Lottery funding and the nursery, which is a registered charity run by the community, says the cost of replacing it will mean it has less to spend on toys and other equipment for youngsters.
"All the money we make goes 100 per cent back into the nursery for the children, which enables us to provide toys, resources, equipment etc," said the nursery's manager, Michala Collins.
"This is stealing from children because the money it will cost to replace the panel and the gravel board will come out of the nursery funds which buys the children's resources for the next term, so thank you for that."
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Ms Collins said when the damage was first noticed the following morning staff initially assumed it was caused by a crash, and they were stunned when they checked their CCTV footage and saw what had actually happened.
She said the fence was installed as part of plans to create an allotment patch where they could grow vegetables for families in what is a deprived neighbourhood.
It is estimated the damage will cost up to £550 to repair.
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"It's really disheartening having gone to all that effort to get the funding and create something nice for the community.
"These people look like they're old enough to have children or even grandchildren of their own. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want this to happen to their own children, which is what makes this so unforgivable."
The video shows a white van pulling up outside the nursery on Verdant Way on Wednesday at 6.18pm and three men removing a fence panel before loading it into the back of the vehicle.
One of the men, wearing a white vest, dark-coloured work trousers and gloves, can be seen scaling a gate to enter the nursery's grounds at one point.
* Anyone with information is asked to call the nursery on 0114 3279 686 or police on 101.