CHILDREN will be greeted by scenes of vandalism when they return to their school next week.
Staff at Birkby Infant and Nursery School have been left counting the cost after vandals smashed picnic tables worth £1,600 during the summer break.
The grim discovery was made when teachers returned to the Blacker Road school.
Head teacher Ann Jones said: "We are very disappointed. It is just mindless vandalism.
"The upsetting thing is that we have always welcomed children to play in our ball courts and use the benches in the evenings and at weekends.
"This is how they repay us."
Mrs Jones thought the damage had been caused during the first few weeks of the holidays.
She said: "They must have used hammers, because the bases are made from solid concrete.
"The tables have only been in place for about six months and the children have really enjoyed using them.
"When it is hot we put umbrellas up and the children enjoy drawing while sitting in the shade.
"Now this area is going to have to be out of bounds because it needs to be cleared and repaired."
Mrs Jones said the four picnic tables - costing £400 each - were put in place as part of a major upgrade of playground facilities.
She added: "We have all worked together to get grants and donations to improve the school playground and we have had national recognition about the facilities we provide.
"It is a shame, because it is such a nice area."
A police spokesman said they knew about the vandalism and patrols in the area had been stepped up.
Anyone with any information is asked to phone 0845 6060606.