This was the heartbreaking scene that greeted volunteers at York’s outdoor centre for scouts and guides.
Vandals had rampaged through the Snowball Plantation, smashing doors and windows. It is believed an axe was used to cause some of the damage.
They broke in to buildings and threw belongings off shelves and across the floor. Metal cupboard doors were buckled and plaster ripped off walls.
Every year thousands of scouts and guides stay at the Snowball Plantation, at Stockton-On-The-Forest near York.
Already one weekend event has been cancelled because of the vandalism. The 1st Holgate Scouts have called off their Oregon Beavers’ Carols Around The Campfire event.
We've had to cancel Oregon Beavers' Carols around the Campfire due to a break in at Snowball Plantation ????
— 1st Holgate Scouts (@1stHolgateYORK) December 4, 2015
The viability of other forthcoming events is being assessed.
The emergency services and plantation staff were called out at 4am on Friday morning (December 4) after an alarm was set off.
“They’ve made a right mess,” said Leah Raine, the lodge manager. She added:
We are all volunteers and it will take a lot to put right.
Set in 17 acres of woodland, Snowball Plantation offers a range of facilities, eight camping sites and two principal buildings.
Children from scouts, guides and other youth organisations stay at the centre use it for outdoor activities, recreation and education.
Forensic officers from the police have visited the site. It is not yet known whether anything was stolen.