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Police are investigating after vandals set fire to an artificial turf playing field by Nanaimo District Secondary School early Tuesday morning.

Nanaimo fire crews responded to the fire around 4:30 a.m. and found that a mattress and metal frame along with wooden pallets had been dragged onto the field then set ablaze.

The burning items created a fire measuring more than a metre across.

The damage from the fire is estimated to be around $40,000 and will put the field out of commission for more than a month.

Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien said the vandalism is especially frustrating for community sports teams that are now down a practice space.

"To drag a mattress and pallets on the field would take considerable time and effort,” said O’Brien.

“With that in mind, we hope that someone may have seen or heard something that will assist in the investigation. This ridiculous act of vandalism will also significantly disrupt ongoing soccer leagues and upcoming football camps, which are expected to start up in the near future.”

Nanaimo RCMP are still investigating and anyone with information on the incident can contact them directly or anonymously report to Crime Stoppers.