VOLUNTEERS who spent years working on a forgotten park say they will not let the thieves who stole all their equipment beat them.

For five years the Friends of Fairy Hill Park have been working almost every week to bring Mottingham's hidden gem back to its best.

But June Hurst from the group says she initially felt devastated when heartless thieves swiped all their tools and equipment a week ago.

The theft comes just as they were recovering from two break-ins over one fortnight last July which saw parts of their building vandalised, items stolen and led to the cancellation of their summer fair.

In the latest incident, volunteers left a host of new tools temporarily in their office after using them to plant 100 trees in a Woodland Trust project.

Ms Hurst said: "We'd left everything there on the Saturday, thinking we'd take it all home on the Thursday. We never gave it a thought."

She said: "When I opened the office up on Thursday everything had gone. All of it."

Items taken included a generator, lawnmower, brand new ladder, spades, electrical cable - even drinks and a flask. Sadly for the group, their building is still listed for demolition and so cannot be insured.

Ms Hurst said: "After all the hard work our volunteers have done week after week, when this sort of thing happens of course you get upset.

"But we're not depressed, we're not down, we're not beaten."

She added: "It's a lesson learned too. We won't keep anything new in there ever again."

To donate equipment or to volunteer, which works at the park every Thursday, email info@friendsoffairyhill.co.uk or call 07762 097 704.

The friends host their family Easter Egg hunt on April 7 from 2pm to 4pm.

If you have any information on the thefts call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111