Vandals wreck prize garden

Pupils inspect damage in the polytunnel
Pupils inspect damage in the polytunnel

Pupils at Motherwell’s Firpark Secondary School are “devastated” after their acclaimed garden was broken into and vandalised.

The setback came soon after their work was featured on television and they won awards at a major gardening event.

The school polytunnel, where the young people learn to grow produce from seed, to be reared and then served as a healthy option in the school bistro, was hit by two random acts of violence in as many weeks.

The structure was slashed in numerous places, including the roof, making it unsuitable for use during wet weather and exposing plants which might not be hardy enough to survive the elements.

A school spokesman said: “The pupils have been left devastated by this senseless vandalism which has ruined their outdoor learning and cast a shadow over a wonderful few weeks after the school featured in two episodes of the BBC’s Beechgrove Garden.

“The area is a favourite with the young people who are working towards their SQA National 4 Rural Skills (Skills for Work) qualification, due to the tranquility of the setting and the enjoyable activities which go on. They have pride in their achievements there.

“The vandalism was not confined to the structure of the polytunnel as there was also internal damage to equipment and the area was left in disarray.”

Firpark Secondary was showcased in the Beechgrove Garden which highlighted how its rural skills programme prepares pupils with additional support needs for the workplace.

In addition, the school has just won two gold awards and one silver award at the Gardening Scotland show for its garden pallet and planter entries. The polytunnel was an integral part of this success.

The school is appealing for help to find the vandals. Anyone with information is asked to call the school on 251313 or Motherwell police station.