Items seized by police in Hartlepool drug raid donated to special needs students after vandal attack

There is light at the end of the tunnel for students at a special needs college in Hartlepool after being ‘overwhelmed’ by support following a shocking act of vandalism.

Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 4:45 pm
Hartlepool police officers - Acting Inspector Adrian Dack, PCSO Mark Say and PC Geoff Coggin, with students from Catcote Futures after donating compost and plant pots that were seized during a drugs raid.

Vandals got onto the site in Warren Road in June and slashed the entire length of the 30ft long tunnel and also damaged the door and end panels.

But now students have been given a boost thanks to a donation of compost and plant pots from police in Hartlepool.

Catcote Futures Student Alex looking through one of the slashed Pollytunnels. Picture by FRANK REID

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Officers uncovering a cannabis farm in the Burn Valley area in June seized the items as part of the dismantling process.

Normally such items would be destroyed, but rather than see them unused, police often donate items to schools or community projects.

It comes after parents of school children set up a JustGiving page which raised £1,000.

Barry Currell, is assistant headteacher of Catcote Futures, which teaches employability skills to students aged 19 and over.

He said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support.

“Parents organised a JustGiving page and we have had support from local businesses and the community, which has been amazing.

“Part of this saw police contact us after a drugs raid to donate 600 litres of compost and 50 plant pots.”

Police visited the college to drop off the items and meet students.

Acting Insp Adrian Dack said: “The damage caused by vandals is unacceptable and we will not tolerate such behaviour.

“Inquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible.

“By donating equipment we are able to give back in some small part to the establishments within our community who help enrich the town and the lives of the people who live here.”

The college is also increasing its security after firm Silverthorne Group offered to install cameras at the site and carry out patrols – free of charge. Polytunnel repairs are ongoing.

Barry added: “The support has given the students a lot of hope – there is now light at the end of the tunnel.

“We want to thank everybody who has been in touch.”