‘It’s mindless vandalism’ - Hooded youths damage equipment bought for school to keep children safe

Joanna Pedlow, head of Toftwood Junior School, is angry over 'mindless vandalism' of equipment. Pict

Joanna Pedlow, head of Toftwood Junior School, is angry over 'mindless vandalism' of equipment. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

Mindless vandals caused about £1500 worth of damage to equipment bought for a school to keep children safe in their bubbles.

Three teenagers, captured on CCTV footage, broke into Toftwood Junior School at about 4.30am on Sunday.

The hooded intruders jumped over the school fence before forcing the door of the PE shed.

Headteacher Joanna Pedlow said the shed had recently been stocked with new items to ensure each classroom bubble had its own equipment.

“They’ve taken the kit out,” said Mrs Pedlow, “thrown it all over the field and left it there to be spoilt. They then took some golf clubs and smashed at least three of our CCTV cameras.

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“At the moment, school budgets are so tight with all the extra stuff we’re buying to keep our kids safe in a pandemic.

“It’s mindless vandalism and it’s taken money away from our children.”

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Mrs Pedlow added that the school had not yet had the chance to do a full audit, so it was not clear whether anything had been stolen.

CCTV footage was recorded and saved of the three youths, who had zipped up their clothing to hide their identities.

Mrs Pedlow said however that their faces were visible in a few frames, and she estimated their ages as being between 11-16.

“They weren’t that old - you could see that from the footage.” she said.

Mrs Pedlow appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

“Who doesn’t know where their teenagers are at 4.30am? Somebody out there has a teenager who came back in the early hours of the morning, with muddy shoes and possibly fragments of the CCTV camera cover on them - and they must know something. I hope they’ll do the right thing.”

Parents are setting up a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of the damage.

“Luckily, we’ve had a lot of support from our parent community, who have said that they’ll contribute towards the costs rather than taking money we’d be spending on the children. They’re incensed about the vandalism.”

Witnesses should contact PC Shannon Cross at Dereham Police Station on 101 quoting crime reference 36/71875/20.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 55 111.

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