HEARTLESS vandals damaged plants and uprooted vegetables being grown by primary school children.

As part of a project with Beamish, the Soil Association and the Food For Life programme, pupils at Ramshaw Primary School have been growing their own plants and vegetables in three 10ft by 5ft seed beds and a polytunnel, as well as caring for four chickens in a specially-built coup in the school grounds.

Their efforts have been hampered several times over the last few weeks by unknown assailants entering the enclosed school field and trampling on the plants, kicking them and throwing them away.

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On one occasion, the seed beds were stolen.

A nearby church donated theirs to the school so they could continue the project.

Headteacher Dominic Brown said: “These are little kids learning how things grow and we just need these people to leave us alone.

“Our pupils have been quite cross about it.”

Police are investigating the incidents and appealed for information about those responsible.

A Durham Police spokesman said: “The children in the school, as well as school volunteers, have invested a lot of time and effort in creating and making a wonderful learning environment that mindless and thoughtless people have ruined, causing distress to the children.”

Anyone with information is asked to call PC Matt Plumb on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.