Heartless vandals have broken into Mawnan Pre-school and smashed the young children’s outdoor play equipment in a callous attack.

Pre-school assistant Kate Shaw said it had been upsetting telling the toddlers they could not play outside on Tuesday, as “nasty people” had broken their toys the previous night.

Four-year-old Tilly Ruberry was among the disappointed pupils. She said: “I feel really sad that someone has broken our toys. They are really nasty.”

Some parents were in “floods of tears” when they saw the extent of the damage, which includes the popular play house – a key feature of the outdoor area – which had its windows smashed out.

The garden area was also vandalised, with the youngsters’ carefully planted flowers and shrubs ripped from the ground.

It is the third time the pre-school has been targeted by vandals, although Miss Shaw said this was “the absolute worst” attack.

Miss Shaw, whose mother Liz is manager of the pre-school based in the cricket club ground, said: “More than anything – more than anger – it was upsetting. To come in and vandalise children’s toys is absolutely disgusting.

“They haven’t achieved anything from it. It’s just really vindictive. It’s just seems like they have pinpointed us.”

The pre-school only moved into their purpose-built new home at the beginning of last year.

The thieves are believed to have broken through a padlocked gate in order to gain entry.

Despite already having a five foot fence surrounding the pre-school, staff are now facing a fundraising battle to collect enough money to install CCTV cameras.

Pre-school manager Liz Shaw said: “I am extremely angry and upset that some mindless individual has decided to destroy the children's play equipment and restrict their play experience here at the pre-school.

“We have worked long and hard to fund the new build only for it to be vandalised.

“We now face more fundraising in order to purchase security equipment such as CCTV and a lengthy clean up.”

Staff have contacted the police and anyone with information is urged to call officers on the 101 number, using reference GP/12/1312