Primary school condemns vandals for "picking on four-year-olds" (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Staindrop Primary School vandals condemned for "picking on four-year-olds"
VANDALS behind a series of incidents at a village school have been condemned for “picking on four-year-olds.”
In the latest attack at Staindrop Primary School, nea Barnard Castle, intruders removed a pane of glass to gain entry to a greenhouse and left the place in a mess.
Previous incidents on equipment in the school grounds have seen glass in the greenhouse smashed, a tyre rolled into a window, cigarette burns scored into surfaces, graffiti and even a small fire in a children's wooden fort structure.
After the latest attack, head Steve Whelerton said there was no option but to step up security.
This will include putting up more CCTV cameras to cover the garden and play area and new signage telling people to keep out.
“It is all low level stuff, but it is the consistency of it and it is getting to be a bit of a nuisance,” said Mr Whelerton.
“It affects the youngest class of children – it seems to make it worse, having a go at four-year-olds.”
Mr Whelerton said he has spoken to the school's 180 children about what has been happening.
“They are as appalled as I am. We have to cordon areas off when we should be using them for educational purposes.”
There is a fence around the school and its grounds, but Mr Whelerton said it would have to be replaced by a much higher structure to physically keep people out.
“It would cost tens of thousands of pounds and we don't want to make it into that sort of prison feel – it is not that type of village.
“I am sure it is a few individuals who are doing this,” he said.
Police are investigating and the issue has been made a priority via the Staindrop PACT process.
As a result, officers have increased patrols in the area around the school in an effort to catch those responsible.
Police are also appealing for information about the incidents at Staindrop Primary School. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported to Barnard Castle police on 101.