Havelock North Playcentre has had its shade sail cut down and stolen, one of a "spate" of recent thefts around early childhood centres in Hawke's Bay.
The centre on Porter Drive lost the large shade sail covering its wharenui on Tuesday.
Havelock North Playcentre Property Coordinator Ali Neilson said staff had noticed people hanging around the centre at night, but never thought it would get to this.
"We have had evidence of groups of people hanging around nearby and outside in the evenings recently," she said.
"The most frustrating thing is that we have started steps towards getting cameras installed but just not quite yet.
"They didn't just steal the shade sails either, they also damaged some of the blow-up water inflatables, which has now meant it has flooded under part of the building."
Neilson added: "In Hawke's Bay, it is critical to have the shade sails up to protect everyone from the weather.
"We are a non-profit organisation, so we don't have the funds to for this type of thing. Insurance will help cover the costs, but it is not ideal."
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The incident followed a number of similar incidents across the region recently, including a theft of a large sail from Laugh Observe Learn Early Childhood Educare in Hastings.
Wendy Greaves, owner of the centre, said it suffered a similar fate a fortnight ago.
"We had a triple sail completely cut and stolen," she said. "There is a real problem in the area following what seems to be a spate of these types of incidents.
"We put the pictures and videos on our Facebook page in the hope that somebody might recognise him. But at the moment, nobody seems to be able to make him out.
"It is just annoying. You are stealing from children at the end of the day and I just didn't think people would or could do that."