Young lives could be at risk from repeated vandalism of an outdoor activity centre in Rhu.

At least £10,000 in damage has been caused to the Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre's rope course.

The most recent attack was around September 19 and again saw ropes, safety nets and mats badly damaged.

Particular concerns have been raised about the damage to the fall-arrest nets - at £1,800 each - in place to catch a young person who taking part in a activity up to 4 metres above a gorge.

Crash matt covers were slashed, each with a £700 cost to replace.

And with ropes as thick as 8cm in diameter, there are fears about significant weapons being used to cut through them.

Glasgow Times: The ropes would need a significant weapon to cutThe ropes would need a significant weapon to cut (Image: Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre)

Neil Wightwick, head of outdoor education services at Glasgow City Council, which runs the centre, said the vandals have broken into the locked rope course.

They did so without safety equipment and ignoring repeated warning signs about the dangers.

He said: "The fall-arrest nets have to be maintained to a certain safety standard. Safety is at risk if they are partly cut.

"We have to increase inspections to make sure nothing has been vandalised overnight. We are very concerned that our increased inspections miss a cut rope.

"It could be fairly catastrophic.

"There is a wider impact that this is having. And people coming here are carrying a significant blade - we would need specialist equipment to cut these ropes at the centre."

Glasgow Times: Slashed crash mattsSlashed crash matts (Image: Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre)

Last year almost 10,000 young people from around Scotland visited the centre but bosses said the future of the rope course was at risk.

Mr Wightwick warned: "We are making decisions whether we keep that activity open or not because we are struggling with the frequency.

"We are putting in cameras now and police will be pursuing parents to recover the cost of replacing vandalised parts."

The most recent attack caused £3,600 in damage and there have been past vandalisms including a fire.

Glasgow Times: The rope course can go four or five meters above the groundThe rope course can go four or five meters above the ground (Image: Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre)Glasgow Times: And now fall-arrest nets under the course have been cutAnd now fall-arrest nets under the course have been cut (Image: Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre)

Mr Wightwick added: "It's a huge cost to a public service. We all know the huge budget pressures that public services are facing, these types of services deliver once in a life time experiences for some of countries most vulnerable young people.

"Every time we need to find budget to repair and replace vandalised equipment it reduces the funds we have available to enable more young people to attend.

"It's malicious damage and the knock-on effects are significant.

Glasgow Times:

"We ask residents to be vigilant and inform the police about any suspicious activity they see around the centre."

Anyone with information on the attacks are asked to contact PC Gibb at Helensburgh police office on 101 or Crimestoppers.