A community playcentre is being forced to fork out thousands of dollars to ramp up security after a spate of vandalism and an attempted break-in.
Carterton Playcentre is to install security cameras and improve outdoor lighting after a burglar attempted to break into the centre by removing almost all the pins in the front door.
The attempted break-in comes just months after vandals destroyed some of the centre's outdoor playground equipment, toys and outdoor curtains.
Building and grants officer Leah Wynne said it was likely the parent-run playcentre would have to spend thousands on increasing security to deter intruders.
This comes on top of the $500 recently spent repairing the outdoor curtains and while the centre is in the midst of fundraising for a badly needed building upgrade, Ms Wynne said.
"It's still coming out of our pockets and then this has happened and it's not going to reach the cost of the excess so we are going to have to fork out for that too.
"We can't afford to keep fixing up damage, basically. Fundraising is not easy as it is -- we are still trying to fundraise for the upgrade."
It was lucky the door had been bolted on the inside, preventing the burglar from being able to get in, she said.
Although the centre had recently erected a "trespassers will be prosecuted" sign and put a padlock on the entrance to the playground after the last vandalism, its location next to Howard Booth Park made it an easy target, Ms Wynne said.
She believed some young people may also have been sleeping rough outside the centre because blankets had been found near the side of the building.
The continuing damage and expense was frustrating for families who used the centre, Ms Wynne said.
"We keep going but it's a bit of a disappointment because it's costing us money to fix these things. I think they [the intruders] just don't care or maybe they haven't been taught any respect."
She was hopeful the Carterton community would pitch in to help with the cost of the cameras.
"We'd welcome any support like donations of equipment or financial assistance -- I know it's a big ask -- or even just for people to talk about it and how we can stop vandals and get the community to rally around."
Nearby Carterton Preschool has also been host to unwelcome guests, with owner Melissa Hutchings saying cigarette butts and faeces had recently been discovered near an outside couch.
A pair of gumboots had also been taken and left at the playcentre.
All the outdoor furniture and toys are now brought in at the end of every day.
For more articles from this region, go to Wairarapa Times-Age