WHEN a group of youths forced their way into a Fareham school and embarked on a devastating wrecking spree it was one of the worst cases of vandalism a Hampshire school had ever seen.

Thousands of pounds' worth of damage was done to the temporary classrooms at Wicor Primary School in Portchester by yobs who poured paint on pupils' work and equipment, stapled toys to the walls and let off fire extinguishers.

Now, 18 months on, staff and all 425 pupils have put the incident behind them and are celebrating the unveiling of a brand-new £1m extension to replace the classrooms that were trashed.

Sue Anders, deputy head teacher at the school for children aged five to 11, described it as the fresh start the school needed.

"We are delighted that the new extension is finished and being used by the children, as it has brought the school up to date and into the 21st century. It's like a new era for us," she said.

In place of the run-down portable huts that were broken into, pupils in Years 3 and 4 now have a luxurious new building complete with four classrooms, music and drama rooms and a library.

Building work for the exciting new facilities got under way last Easter.

The huts were originally put in place more than 30 years ago to replace a condemned junior school.

They were set apart from the school in Hatherley Crescent and more susceptible to attacks from vandals.

"It was very demoralising for the school at the time, but the classrooms were vulnerable," said Mrs Anders.

"Now the new extension is like a phoenix rising from the flames. It's brilliant."

Hampshire County Council provided the majority of funding for the project, though some money was donated by local charity the Prices Trust.