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Norfolk special school left with no transport after crooks steal wheels from their minibuses

PUBLISHED: 16:56 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:40 23 January 2018

Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School.

Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School.

The Hall School

Children at a special school have been left with no transport for swimming or riding lessons, after criminals stole the wheels from their minibuses - and then smashed the windows of the vehicles.

Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School. Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School.

The criminals broke through the fence of the Hall School in Old Catton and then removed 10 wheels from three minibuses - which the school had spent years raising tens of thousands of pounds for.

Not only did the criminals steal the wheels, using blocks of wood from a tree which had fallen in the playground during last week’s storm to jack them up, they also smashed the windows.

The school caters for 80 students aged between three and 19, with severe learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, behavioural, emotional and social difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties.

And head teacher Keith Mckenzie said the damage which had been done - including to a Variety minibus and one which was match-funded by The Lord Taverners just two years ago - was “devastating”.

Flashback to 2017, when Look East presenter Stewart White, left, presents the key to the minibus. From 2nd left, head Keith Mckenzie; chairman of the Lady Taverners, Jackie Hopkinson; and chairman of the Norfolk Region of Lord Taverners, Gary Towers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Flashback to 2017, when Look East presenter Stewart White, left, presents the key to the minibus. From 2nd left, head Keith Mckenzie; chairman of the Lady Taverners, Jackie Hopkinson; and chairman of the Norfolk Region of Lord Taverners, Gary Towers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He said CCTV had captured a white van near the school at just after 8pm on Saturday night, which had been there for about four hours.

He said: “They have not only taken the wheels, but they have also smashed the minibuses very badly.

They are going to be out of action for two to three months while they are repaired and unfortunately, our insurance doesn’t cover replacement transport.

“It means the things the pupils go to, such as swimming and riding for the disabled, have had to be cancelled.

“It took us years to raise the money for those minibuses. It is quite devastating.”

Mr Mckenzie urged other schools to be vigilant and asked anybody with information to contact the police.

And he appealed for anyone who might be able to help the school with alternative transport to get in touch on 01603 466467.

A spokesman for Norfolk police confirmed they were called at about 8am on Sunday following reports vehicles had been broken into and damaged sometime between 6pm on Friday and 7.50am on Sunday.

Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 quoting CAD 85 of Sunday, January 21.

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