Up to £10,000 worth of damage has been caused to a disabled children’s service in Dundee.
A fire started within the garden of The Yard Dundee causing significant damage to a gingerbread house, used as a Santa’s Grotto and to store specialist equipment.
Police say they currently treating the fire as suspicious and the charity have branded the incident an act of “cruelty”.
The equipment was gifted to the The Yard by the National Lottery five years ago and decorated by some of Scotland’s lottery winners.
A large number of bikes, go-carts, trikes and soft play equipment stored within the gingerbread house was also destroyed in the fire.
The service say damage has amounted to around £10,000 and has been forced to cancel a family session on Sunday as a result of the fire.
The Yard works with children and young people with additional support needs through adventure play sessions in Dundee, Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy.
It offers play experiences in specialist, supported environments with a programme of clubs, training sessions and activities.
Gill Thomson, Service Development Manager at The Yard said, “We are absolutely sickened by this fire, which will be a huge loss to the families who rely on our service as a safe and welcoming place to play.
“The Gingerbread House is a much-loved and much-used facility, the beating heart of our outdoor space. It’s heartbreaking to have to tell families that they can’t come this Sunday, and that the house and everything it contains has been damaged.
“Most of the families we support have no other options when it comes to play and rely on our facilities to relax, unwind and be themselves. We are shocked and saddened by the cruelty and sheer mindlessness of this attack.”
Nadia Christison from Dundee, who attends The Yard with her mother and sons, said: “It was only a few weeks ago that we attended The Yard’s Christmas party and met Santa in the Gingerbread House grotto.
“We all love going to The Yard, it’s a real lifeline for us as a family, and the Gingerbread House is central to that as are the bikes and trikes which we hear have also been damaged, some destroyed.
“We are absolutely appalled and sickened to hear of this deliberate fire and hope the good people of Dundee can rally round and help fund the repairs and replacements we all cherish so much.”
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to support the service.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police were informed of a fire in Drumlanrig Place, Dundee around 9.50pm on Thursday, January 19.
“The fire is being treated as suspicious and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.”