VANDALS are being hunted after smashing up an observation hide at a Weymouth nature reserve.
Dorset Police are investigating the damage at the RSPB site at Radipole Lake which happened between 5pm on Sunday and 8am yesterday.
Offenders broke into one of the hides and caused disruption by pulling items from cupboards, throwing paint around and smashing a hole in the roof.
The hide was closed yesterday to allow volunteers to clean up.
Staff are hoping it will reopen soon, as it is a good spot to watch the marsh harriers that are currently raising their chicks.
Earlier this year vandals targeted the RSPB Discovery Centre in the Swannery car park three times in a week, leaving the bug hotel destroyed, glass recycling smashed up and a small fire started on the reserve.
Michelle Williams, centre manager for the Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre, said the damage to the hide was discovered by one of their volunteers when they went to unlock it early on Monday morning.
She said vandals had broken through a steel gate to get up to the area about a mile away from the main centre, they then smashed their way into the hide.
She said: “There’s a hole in the roof, they have chucked paint around and pulled everything out of the cupboards.”
The damage will take time for volunteers to repair and take away from their ability to do other jobs around the reserve, Mrs Williams said.
The attack was ‘mindless’ and ‘frustrating,’ Mrs Williams said.
She added: “Five minutes of fun to them causes a huge amount of inconvenience. It’s: ‘Why really, what do they get out of it?’”
She said they are hoping someone would have heard or seen something to help the police investigation and urged people to call Dorset Police with any information.
Officers said they were investigating the incident as a burglary.
A spokesman said: “We received a call at 9.17am on Monday reporting a break in to a bird hide, there was a hole in the roof and paint thrown everywhere.”
Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101 quoting incident number 28:93.