A HAMPSHIRE Scout group has cancelled a renovation project – to pay for repairs to vandalism damage.

As reported by the Daily Echo, vital algae monitoring probes were ripped from the Scout pontoon at Testwood Lakes.

And now the 4th New Forest North Scouts have had to abandon plans to revamp their pontoon house in order to be able to afford to replace the expensive equipment.

Scout leader Marcus Sly said: “The damage is going to cost us £2,500.

“Not only do we need to replace the algae probes, but we also need invest in a better CCTV system for the pontoon house to ensure we are better prepared if something like this happens again.

“We raise money every year at a series of fundraising events to go towards any renovation projects we have.

“We were planning on using the money we have raised at the moment to go towards improving the storage facilities at the pontoon house.

“Paying out for the new probes and CCTV will have a long-term impact as it means unfortunately we now won’t be able to afford update these facilities until a later date.”

The blue-green algae levels at Testwood lakes are currently dangerously high, according to experts.

The illness-inducing algae has spiked due to the removal of the probes amid the soaring temperatures in this summers heatwave.

Southern Water, which owns the lakes, said: “Calm, hot and dry weather is perfect for the development of naturally occurring algae in standing or slow running water.

“We already have signs up at our Testwood Lakes and reservoirs discouraging people and their pets from swimming for their own safety, although we recognise it can be especially difficult to keep dogs out of the water during a heat wave.

“Young children are more vulnerable – and more likely to swallow water – so it’s best to pay attention to any warnings or stick to approved bathing waters.”

Mr Sly added: “Southern Water has been fantastic with dealing with this issue and is doing everything it can to ensure the public stay safe.

“It is just a shame that we are having to use our funds to repair the damage these vandals have caused.

“It is very disappointing that we now can’t afford to revamp our storage facilities that are in need of renovation.”