School hits out at vandals who leave trail of damage in attempted break-in

Rossmere Primary School's deputy headteacher Debbie Anderson with school council pupils Caitlin Woodward, Ella Cooper and headteacher Lynne Pawley. Second row, pupils Jenson Bramley, Sophie Cuncliffe, Harley Tiplady and Max Sanderson. Front are Sarah Copeland and Dylan Osborne.
Rossmere Primary School's deputy headteacher Debbie Anderson with school council pupils Caitlin Woodward, Ella Cooper and headteacher Lynne Pawley. Second row, pupils Jenson Bramley, Sophie Cuncliffe, Harley Tiplady and Max Sanderson. Front are Sarah Copeland and Dylan Osborne.

Pupils have joined teachers in speaking out about raiders who smashed a hole in the wall in an attempted break in.

The damage caused to Rossmere Primary School is the fifth time it has been targeted in five years, with the latest attack on the premises happening just days after children were given access to a new play area.

An area of yard cordoned off at Rossmere Primary School after a bench was damaged in an effort to smash through a wall to the main building.

An area of yard cordoned off at Rossmere Primary School after a bench was damaged in an effort to smash through a wall to the main building.

The would-be thieves broke off padlocks to get into the Catcote Road grounds.

It is believed they used tools to chip away at a wall as they tried to get into the building, using the seat of a new bench which was torn off and used to batter and prise away bricks.

The area, part of its new Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) project, has been cordoned off to keep youngsters safe, while police have launched an investigation into the damage.

It was discovered yesterday morning when the caretaker began to open up for the day.

I’m really annoyed for all of us because we play here and they wouldn’t like it if it happened to them when they were childre

Ella Cooper, aged 11

The yobs did not manage to get their hands on any property from the school, with its management stressing minimal amounts of cash are kept on site.

The cost of the repairs is likely to be met from a budget put aside for the new scheme, with an order for play equipment now cancelled as the school’s leaders look to met the cost of the damage, which is likely to run into hundreds of pounds.

The school’s safe is largely used to store exam papers and other legal documents.

School council chairman Caitlin Woodward, 10, and vice chairman Ella Cooper, 11, joined headteacher Lynne Pawley in condemning whoever is behind the attempted burglary.

The damage left by the would-be raiders.

The damage left by the would-be raiders.

“It’s horrible,” she said.

“They know kids come here five days a week and they would see this was a playground and they’ve destroyed it now and we can’t play because it’s dangerous.

“I’m angry people came and broke in.”

Ella added: “I’m really annoyed for all of us because we play here and they wouldn’t like it if it happened to them when they were children.

Rossmere Primary School headteacher Lynne Pawley with the damage caused by yobs.

Rossmere Primary School headteacher Lynne Pawley with the damage caused by yobs.

“It’s going to take a lot of money to fix it.”

Security-protected laptops have been taken from the school in the past, with the latest break in two years ago, when its still-to-be-kitted out Forest School was damaged.

Mrs Pawley said: “We are very upset and disappointed because it is the children that are going to be losing out because we need to carry out the work and that will cost money, particularly when we are trying to build on our OPAL project.”

The school’s governors have said they have been left “very shocked” by the incident.

Cleveland Police, which has carried out a sweep of evidence at the site, said its officers were called to the school at 8.15am yesterday, as the alarm was raised about the break in.

Anyone with information which could help the inquiry can call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.