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Vandals trash gardens at National Trust building Rainhall Hall

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:05 16 April 2015

A large stone urn was badly damaged

A large stone urn was badly damaged

Archant

“Senseless” vandals have trashed gardens at a historic National Trust building – destroying years of work by volunteers.

Sally James, creative programme manager, said it was a 'senseless, aggresive act'Sally James, creative programme manager, said it was a 'senseless, aggresive act'

Staff at Rainham Hall, which is currently undergoing a huge renovation, were “heartbroken” on Monday morning when they discovered £3,000 worth of damage had been done over the weekend.

The 18th century merchant house is set to open to the public for the first time this summer following a £1.5m grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Creative programme manager Sally James said the gardens, which opened last year, had really taken shape.

“The last few years have been spent transforming it from a wilderness,” she said. “There’s a team of 30 amazing volunteers. They have been fantastic.

Plants were thrown across the gardensPlants were thrown across the gardens

“It’s so heartbreaking, we have been working hard to enable the community to use it.”

A stone urn and stone bench have been badly damaged, while pots have been completely smashed and all of the cuttings and cold frames “thrown across the garden.”

“This is a senseless and aggressive act,” said Sally. “We are working with police closely to make sure things like this don’t happen again.

“There are no signs of forced entry on the grounds, but there’s three acres and in some places the boundary wall is quite low. In the past people have climbed over the walls.”

A stone bench was destroyedA stone bench was destroyed

The vandalism comes one week after an Easter egg hunt at the venue.

“We had 500 kids and parents,” explained Sally. “That was a good sign of what we want to do here. For that to be followed the next weekend by vandalism makes it even more heartbreaking.”

The hall is expected to open today after being closed on Tuesday while police investigated. The scheduled opening date of August has not been affected.

If you have any information about the crime, call police on 101 quoting reference number 5405656/15.


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