CHILDREN were left ‘heartbroken’ after their school fell victim to vandalism.

Stephenson Way Academy and Nursery, in Newton Aycliffe, was targeted by vandals last weekend who forced entry to the site creating substantial damage.

The nursery shed door had been broken and has since had to be repaired.

On the upper school site the shed also had its panel ripped off allowing the vandals to gain entry.

Once inside they threw the equipment around leaving a mess.

The school also said three windowpanes were deliberately smashed on the greenhouse, with onions and strawberries grown by the children scattered all over and plant pots tipped against windows.

In a statement the school’s headteacher said: “I am extremely disappointed to let you know that over the weekend, a substantial amount of deliberate criminal damage has been carried out within our school premises.

“Apart from the fact that those responsible could be seriously injured by carrying out such mindless vandalism, our children were heartbroken on coming into school this morning.

"The children take great pride in looking after our wonderful school and have thoroughly enjoyed planting and caring for the crops in our garden.

“This is now a criminal matter, the police have been informed and CCTV footage has been taken. If anyone knows anything about this senseless attack, I would urge you to please report this to the police by ringing 101.

“We are very proud of Stephenson Way Academy and Nursery and we cannot and should not stand by and let our children be affected by such mindless acts of vandalism.”

The school said it is grateful following offers of help from the public and hopes it can return to normal soon.

Police have been informed of the incident and condemned the 'mindless' vandalism.

A school spokesperson added: The children were heartbroken after all of their hard work was ruined, such mindless vandalism is hard for them to understand. The majority of the work these past few weeks has been done by the children of key workers that have been in school, they were so proud of their achievements and to have someone come in and ruin it has hit them hard. "

Anyone with any information is asked to contact officers on 101 quoting reference number CRI00274341.

Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.