SHATTERED pieces of glass are strewn about the floor.

A large glass door has been left in ruins and what little of it remains is splintered and cracked.

Inside, drawers have been wrenched open as the burglars rummaged through them to find anything of value.

Finding that any building has become the scene of a break in is shocking, but what is more horrifying is that this is a nursery, and the ones who suffer are children and babies.

A crimewave has hit Southampton with several nurseries being targeted.

Windows have been smashed, cash stolen and equipment destroyed by a serial burglar or burglars.

The criminal or criminal group has a vendetta against Southampton's nurseries, with five falling victim to burglaries in less than a month.

The spate of attacks has lead to nursery owners to take drastic steps to beef up their security, including updating their alarms, installing CCTV and making sure no cash is left in the premise overnight.

The Daily Echo visited the crime scene after one of these break ins to see how the attack impacted the nursery.

A large stone block lay on the floor, directly in front of a smashed window that had scattered glass all over where children had been playing just the day before.

The nursery owners kept all the children well away from the damage in a separate building, not only for their safety but also to make sure none of them were upset or frightened.

The crime wave began on February 8, when the Paint Pots Nursery in Portswood was broken into.

Around £200 was stolen from inside the office which had been put aside to purchase new toys for the children to play with in the garden.

But the horror did not end their for Paint Pots, a nursery group which has several locations throughout Southampton.

They were repeatedly targeted throughout February, in the space of just over a fortnight.

The next break in was in Shirley which was quickly followed by three break ins over a single weekend at their Shirley, Swaythling and Freemantle locations.

Not only did the vandals cause thousands of pounds worth of damage, they also stole anything of value, including cash, laptops and tablets.

While in the Freemantle nursery, like a vile calling card, the criminals urinated on cots and toys used by babies and in the boiler room, before turning the heat up causing a disgusting smell to spread through the building.

Daily Echo:

Paint Pots was then burgled for a sixth time when the serial burglars broke into the Swaythling nursery again by lobbing a concrete slab through a pane of glass.

David Wright, 57, who owns Paint Pots with his wife Anna and their son Joe, said: "It is like a home for the children and for someone to desecrate it, particularly sleeping areas for babies, is beyond reason.

"We can't even begin to think why they would do this.

"Having been targeted whether it is personal or someone has latched onto our brand, it makes you feel vulnerable and it is a violation of children's space.

"It is a place of security for them in their innocence to play and develop here and that has been desecrated."

But the vendetta vandals did not stop at Paint Pots and spread their trail of carnage to St James Nursery and Pre-School, a separate nursery but one that is just over a mile from one of the Paint Pots locations that was targeted.

The thieves stole cash the children had been raising for charity and police have linked the crime to the Paint Pots Nursery break ins.

Seeing so many nurseries targeted, places designed to be a safe haven for children to learn and grow, may be disheartening to many.

However, in spite of this the more than £1,000 has been raised by well wishers for the Paint Pots Nursery group, some of whom do not even have any connection to the group.

Mr Wright said: "We been given something like £1,100 that will be split between the nurseries that have been broken into to buy something for the children and staff and between our charity.

"It is heartening and overwhelming and it this kind of support that reassures your faith in human kindness.

"People want to show that there is a level of morality in people and that we are all part of the same society."

Police are still hunting for the serial nursery burglar, have upped their patrols in affected areas, and have asked anyone with information to call 101.