A DALES museum has decided to temporarily close all gates to its grounds following a "shameful" spate vandalism around the parkland.

The Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle, closed to the public on Wednesday March 18 and since then the benches in the story area have been damaged and the totem pole pulled over and broken. There have also been attempts to pull out outdoor trail markers and branches have been pulled down and plants uprooted.

The museum is working with the police to find the culprits.

Museum director Adrian Jenkins, said: "It is a shame that the actions of a few will have an impact on many but this closure also ties in with the latest government advice to stay at home to help restrict the spread of coronavirus.

"The museum is following in the footsteps of other organisations who have closed gated parks and gardens."

PC Michael Banks, of Durham Police, said: “This is a shameful piece of criminal damage within the grounds of a historical location in Barnard Castle, anyone with information please contact Durham Constabulary quoting reference number DHM23032020-0189.”