MINDLESS vandals have wrecked a precious outdoor area used by children for the third time in as many months.

Munchkins Nursery in Wivenhoe runs an incredibly popular forest schools programme in woodland near their base in King George V Playing Fields in a bid to get pupils enjoying the great outdoors.

But louts trashed their camp at the weekend by burning ornamental dreamcatchers which were hanging from trees, kicking down a shelter and hurling around logs which were used as seats.

Previously, nursery staff have left out equipment to be enjoyed by the community but have decided to now bring in as much as possible in the wake of the latest incident fearing they could set themselves up to be targeted yet again.

Jo Callaghan, who owns the nursery, said pupils and staff were devastated by what had happened.

She said: “One of the pupils - a three-year-old - said to me ‘they’re horrible people aren’t they?’ - which sums it up.

“This is the third this has happened but at the weekend they did a real job on it.

“The children are so upset.

“I have no idea what is going on in Wivenhoe for people to want to keep doing it.

“This should be a fantastic asset for the community but it keeps being ruined by mindless vandals.

“They have really smashed it up - some of the logs they have thrown around would have taken at least two people to move.”

Ms Callaghan said staff were determined to continue with forest schools because of how much the children enjoy it.

She added: “They say children go outside less than criminals who are in prison.

“It is about teaching them about nature, to respect it and if you take something then put it back where it belongs afterwards.

“The children learn things without feeling like they are being taught.”