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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Vandal attack on Cumbrian school being probed by police

A headteacher has appealed to the community to catch the vandals who attacked his school.

Longtown school damage photo
Head Geoff Norman with Pc Dorinda Warwick

Longtown Primary School suffered extensive damage over the bank holiday weekend – the latest in a number of incidents over the past few months.

The vandals also attacked the neighbouring Pear Tree Nursery, off Mary Street.

Headteacher Geoff Norman said: “There have been lots of little pieces of damage across all the different areas of the school. The benches outside have been destroyed.”

The vandals also made their way onto the roof where they ripped off slates and damaged lead.

A flat roofed area now has a hole as a result of the incident. Windows were smashed and the caging protecting CCTV cameras was also vandalised.

“They were trying to move the cameras so that they weren’t recording them,” added Mr Norman.

“They have also pulled some cables out but the cameras are still working.”

In July, yobs ripped lead from the roof, damaged a goalpost on the school’s football pitch and started a fire on the multi-use games area (Muga), which is attached to the school.

In April, burglars broke into the building and stole equipment from its nursery which was then dumped near the banks of the River Esk.

Mr Norman was not yet able to say how much it will cost to repair the damage but is due to meet governors today.

Mr Norman believes a group of older teenagers could be responsible, adding: “I would like parents to be aware of what their children are up to. They may be young adults but they are not independent from parental control.”

The damage will not affect pupils’ return to school next week.

Alison Blair, acting manager of the Pear Tree Nursery, said the building they were based in, which adjoins the primary, had also been attacked but had escaped with much less damage.

She said: “Basically they have been up on the roof and removed slates and broken them."

Sir James Graham, chairman of Arthuret parish council, said: “It is shocking that this happens in Longtown.”

Councillor Val Tarbitt, who represents Longtown on Cumbria County Council and is a governor at the primary school, added: “It is a very sad reflection for people in Longtown for people who want to be proud of their town.”

PC Dorinda Warwick said: “This is not just a small amount of damage: we are talking about damage which is causing distress to everyone involved with the school and nursery as well as incurring a significant cost.

“The latest damage is also potentially dangerous, in that roof slates could fall on innocent members of the public including small children who use the facilities.”

Anyone with any information should call officers on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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