VANDALS have damaged a polytunnel used by pupils at Corbridge Middle School.

The polytunnel was built in the school grounds last year, after subject leader for science Dr Meryl Batchelder made a successful bid for a Green Grant Fund from Newcastle University.

Since then it has been used by pupils on Friday afternoons to grow salad vegetables, with the first crop of lettuce and radishes harvested just before Easter.

However, the polytunnel was targeted by vandals over the Easter Holidays, who slashed the plastic sides with sharp objects and left rubbish inside.

Dr Batchelder, who also manages the school garden, believes the damage could cost hundreds of pounds to repair.

She said: “We’re going to have to replace the plastic. We’ve taped it up but it won’t hold so that will cost about £200. It’s also a lot of work for for someone to do. It’s quite sad. When we put it up, we knew it would be a risk, but it didn’t last very long.

“It looks like they’ve had some sort of sharp object like a knife or a glass bottle and slashed it, and then they had a small traffic cone which they threw through.

“There were some chocolate bar wrappers too, which none of my pupils would have left.”

As a keen environmentalist, Dr Batchelder was also unhappy that more plastic would have to be used to replace the damaged sections.

She added: “I’m all about sustainability, and reducing the amount of plastic we use.”

In a letter appealing for information, the school described the attack as “mindless vandalism” and asked anyone who could source a replacement to contact the school.