Police are seeking two youths in relation to a fire which destroyed equipment at a school playground.
Playground equipment was destroyed at Burnside Primary School after a suspicious fire last week causing more than $30,000 damage.
Senior Sergeant Paul Merrett said police were seeking two youths who "had been nominated" as suspects.
"At this stage we are following strong lines of inquiry from information given to us by the public," he said.
Burnside Primary School principal Matt Bateman said he had heard from police that two youths were seen setting light to a lounge chair next to the plastic rock climbing wall in the playground on Sunday, January 6.
"Apparently they may have set it alight using some kind of spray can and cigarette lighter - we found three lumps of aluminium in among the wreckage," he said.
Fire adds to school woes
He said with the school slated to close under the Ministry of Education shake up of Christchurch schools it was highly unlikely the play equipment would be replaced for the new school.
The Ministry of Education announced last year that Burnside Primary School was amongst the 13 schools it was proposing to close along with proposals to put another 26 through some form of merger.
"We won't be able to replace the equipment. Property money for adventure playgrounds was frozen last year anyway and with the proposal to close our school to be decided in February it's just not going to happen," he said.
A quarter of the playground has been destroyed including several apparatus with the damage estimated to be between $30,000 and $40,000.
"The climbing wall, fireman's pole, the steering wheels, jungle gym and the walking beam have all been destroyed," said Mr Bateman.
Mr Bateman said the situation was "very distressing" and topped off a difficult year.
Not only is the school earmarked for closure, but in December six staff members resigned seeking job security at schools not slated with closure.
"Setting fire to the playground is just such a stupid act, such a senseless thing to do. Just young ones with too much time on their hands getting into bad habits of lighting fires," he said.
Mr Bateman said he would ask the Ministry of Education for money to "make it safe".
"For health and safety reasons we need to make the area safe," he said.
Staff were at the school last week cleaning up the area and removing what they could.
"We cut all the burnt bits down to ground level to make it safe - we will have to get in a digger to get all the big rubber bits which have stuck together in a big piece under the ground," he said.
With the majority of materials in the playground being plastic and rubber most of the equipment had "melted".
"It took me three showers to get the smell out of my clothes," he said.