A GRATEFUL nursery worker described how 'upsetting' it has been to realise the Tilehurst centre had been targeted for break ins during lockdown.

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Katrina Bingham, head of centre at Norcot Early Years Centre, responded to the overwhelming reaction from the public after the nursery - which has remained open to care for the children of key workers - had equipment and furniture stolen on the weekend of April 11.

She said it is not the first time during lockdown that the nursery has been targeted, and a Just Giving page was set up to raise cash to replace the stolen equipment.

It has now received £815 in donations.

"We are so grateful for the support," Katrina said.

"We have children from other nurseries coming to us at the moment because theirs have now been closed for lockdown - these are all children of key workers.

"I'm finding it difficult to staff because obviously they all have to protect themselves too, and same cannot come in at this time.

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"It's just not nice to walk in each day and wonder if more things will have gone - it's upsetting.

"Obviously we have been deep cleaning the place and using gloves and masks, but then people have broken in and have contaminated it again."

Katrina said the reaction from the community has been 'fantastic', and that staff have been 'amazing'.

She said: "People have offered to donate furniture as well as money, and others have offered to help with security in the building.

"We are so grateful and want to thank everyone - not just for the money raised but for all these things too."

The Just Giving page, set up shortly after the April 11 break in, says: "This is devastating to see, especially as the nursery is remaining open to care for the children of key workers.

"We would like to raise funds to help towards the cost of replacing the stolen items, including the garden equipment which gives the staff somewhere to sit in the sunshine on their well deserved breaks."

A spokesman from Thames Valley Police said: "It was reported that garden furniture had been stolen from Norcot Nursery School.

"This happened at some stage between 5pm on April 11 and 9.25am on April 13."