Police warning after thieves target village school and community hall

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POLICE are warning village residents to be on their guard after a school and community hall were both targeted by intruders over the weekend.

Officers are carrying out forensic work after Elwick Women’s Institute Hall, on the village green, and St Peter’s Elwick CE Primary School were both broken into.

Fortunately the intruders left both scenes empty-handed but had rifled through drawers, cupboards and cabinets as they searched for valuables.

Reports were also circulating around the village of a spate of attempted car break-ins over the weekend. Police now have extra patrols in place in Elwick but are urging residents to remain vigilant and ensure all windows and doors are locked.

Sonya Black, headteacher at St Peter’s Elwick, went back to work after the Christmas holiday yesterday to be told by the caretaker about the break-in, which happened some time on Sunday. The yobs had smashed a window but feld after being disturbed.

“They managed to smash a window and get in, but there is nothing missing at all,” said Mrs Black.

“They rifled through some cabinets and the place was an absolute mess afterwards but the main thing is they didn’t get away with anything.

“We think they must have been disturbed. Everyone in the school will be extra vigilant now.”

Elwick WI President Sylvia Jobson was relieved nothing was taken after the hall was broken into sometime between 11pm on Friday and 8am on Saturday.

Mrs Jobson told the Mail: “We don’t know how they have managed to get in.

“They’ve got into a cupboard but there is nothing of any value ever left in the hall so they must have realised that and left.

“We have to replace the locks on the cupboards but fortunately there was no other damage done.”

Officers have been carrying out house-to-house enquiries as they seek to track down those responsible for the break-ins.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We are investigating and doing forensic work after receiving reports of the two break-ins. Extra patrols are taking place in and around Elwick and residents should remain vigilant and lock windows and doors.”

Anyone with information about either incident should call Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.