They caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to the forest school at St Leonard’s Church of England Primary Academy, the school said.
Back in March the school in Collinswood Drive suffered a similar break-in when a shed, home to the school’s forest school, was burgled.
Marie Burgess, headteacher, said: “The vandalism happened about 4.30pm on Monday (May 25). The youths involved were interrupted by a neighbour who startled them.
“The neighbour reported that they were wearing balaclavas.
“They ran off through the allotments. The allotments were busy so a number of people saw them running through. The neighbours contacted me and staff went to the site.
“We found that they had broken into one of our sheds. They couldn’t get the padlock off so they took the front of the shed off. In their rush to leave they left a knife behind.
“The police were contacted by the school and the neighbour. The police then attended to finger print, photograph and take the knife.
“Yesterday (Tuesday, May 26) between 4pm and 6pm, according to the neighbours, all the social distancing signs we have displayed around the site ready for opening next Monday were torn down.
“This morning (Wednesday, May 27) we found containers of hot chocolate have been thrown at classroom windows. They have also been back to the site and cut down our rope swing.
“We normally have pet ducks on the site but we are unable to keep them there at the moment for fear of them being hurt.
“The staff, children and parent volunteers have worked hard to prep the site for children returning to school and this is a key part of our provision.
“I have been at St Leonard’s for more than seven years and we have never had a problem with vandalism in that time. Our community is devastated by this.”
An online fundraising page has now been set up by Sherri Barrett to help raise money towards repairs and replace missing equipment.
Click here to donate.
Sussex Police has been contacted for a statement.
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