THE leader of a Bradford model boating club says he is "shell-shocked" after the group's clubhouse was destroyed by arsonists - the third time it has been hit by vandals in just three months.

The old bowling pavilion at Bradford Moor Park, used as a base for the marine section of the Bradford Model Engineering Society, was gutted in Friday night's blaze, with the building now unusable for the foreseeable future.

Vandals had previously targeted the building just over a week ago - ripping a sink off the wall, smashing doors off their hinges, and pouring glue and resin all over the floor - and the pavilion was also ransacked in November, when around £1,400 worth of damage was caused to boats and equipment.

Peter Nurse, the society's boating commodore, said he feared the worst when he visited the clubhouse with another member on Saturday afternoon and saw debris outside.

"My immediate thought was that we'd been hit again," he said.

"Another member opened the door and looked in, and he just burst into tears.

"You couldn't imagine the mess unless you saw it, so I called the police straightaway."

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said they were initially called to the clubhouse at around 7pm on Friday, attending the scene with fire crews from Bradford.

They confirmed suspects had broken into the building and started a fire, causing damage to furniture.

The society's library of vintage model-making magazines, some said to date back to 1900, was also destroyed in the fire.

"You can't put a price on what that resource was worth to the club, they simply cannot be replaced," said Mr Nurse.

"We're just shell-shocked at the minute.

"It seems as if some people want us out of the park, but we won't allow the group to become fragmented.

"We plan to use a workshop belonging to one of our members to keep the boating project going.

"It's going to take a while for the pavilion to recover, but we are determined to stay together as a group."

Mr Nurse had written to David Ward in the aftermath of the latest incident, and the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East described the attack as "sickening."

"Your heart sinks when you hear about vandalism such as this, it is just mindless destruction," he said.

"I have no idea what goes through the minds of people who would do this.

"I am happy to meet with the group to see if I can help in any way, and I would just encourage them not to give up."

The society, which has used the boating lake at the park, off Killinghall Road, for around the last 80 years, rent the clubhouse from Bradford Council, but no-one from the authority was available to comment on the future of the building yesterday.

Anyone with any information on the arson incident should contact police on 101.