Arsonists have torched a children’s playhouse that belonged to a nursery in Braithwaite.

The wooden structure was destroyed and children’s toys stored nearby were also wrecked.

The cost of the equipment lost has been estimated at more than £1,000.

The damage was inflicted on the play area at Keighley Community Nursery, in Braithwaite Grove, which is off Braithwaite Avenue, in the early hours of Monday.

Nursery manager Julie White said: “It’s very sad, especially as we’ve had one thing after another up here.

“We’ve had vandalism and a couple of burglaries, so this is really disheartening.

“We’re a charity and it’s not as if we have a lot of funds. This playhouse was solid wood and it wasn’t cheap.”

Keighley Fire Station crew commander Steve Bairstow confirmed the fire had been started deliberately.

Ms White said the blaze also affected a fence and feared it may have damaged the playground’s special soft surfacing.

She added toys stored in a metal shed close to the playhouse melted in the heat.

Nursery deputy manager Sue Foster said: “We’re a charitably run organisation. Everything we make goes back into paying for the nursery.” She said the playhouse had been targeted three weeks ago, when vandals tore slats off its roof.

Keighley Community Nursery has operated on its site since January 2005 and has places for up to 50 children aged three months to five years.

A spokesman for Airedale and North Bradford Police said: “We were called by the fire service to a report of a fire at a premises on Braithwaite Avenue in Keighley at about 12.45am on Monday.

“An outbuilding was damaged in the fire and officers have visited the scene. Investigations are ongoing and we are treating the matter as suspicious.”