Parents and children have been left angry and devastated after their community art project was vandalised.

The graffiti mural, sprayed last week on the side of an industrial container in Bush Hill Park, was smeared all over with light blue paint between 8pm last night (Sunday) and 8am this morning.

The Friends of Bush Hill Park last week paid £400 to a graffiti artist to decorate the container, which was recently installed to house a cycling project.

Children from nearby Bush Hill Park Primary School and dozens of passers-by all helped create the attractive piece over several days in time for the start of the Bike Box scheme tomorrow (Tuesday).

But parents on the school run were left horrified this morning as they walked through the park to find the colourful artwork ruined by the paint, which appeared to have been applied using a paint roller.

Mother-of-one Marie Brine, whose son Archie helped spray the art work, said: “It is disgusting. It was fine last night but we came through this morning and found it like this.

“It’s totally sick that someone could do this. The kids loved doing it last week.”

Leila Lahrichi, a mother-of-three who lives opposite the park, said: “I was shocked when I saw it. Someone has come out specifically to do this – it’s very sad.

“This sort of thing is supposed to encourage young people to do something positive, but this is not. The youth of today must just think ‘what is the point’.”

The container was installed to store a number of specialist and standard bikes that will be hired out for free to charities for the disabled and other community groups.

The Friends group had used the remainder of its grant money from Enfield Council to pay for the commission, which was won by local artist Simon Tomlinson.

Friends chairman Maria Tolly reported the incident to the police today but is hopeful someone may have seen something that would help officers catch the perpetrator.

She said: “I just felt horror and anger when I saw it. It is quite obvious this was not just some young vandal – it was someone who wanted to spoil this excellent piece of work.

“It took a lot of effort to create the graffiti and we want to know who did this and for what reason. Someone went home with blue hands last night.

“We have an excellent record of low crime and anti-social behaviour in this park – we’ve won an award for it. This was an act of hostility in a park where there is harmony and we want them caught.”