Five schools targeted in two weeks

ANOTHER three schools have fallen victim to vandalism and theft, as the term ends and police appeal for residents to keep an eye on nearby school buildings - bringing the total to five targeted in the past two weeks.

Three young teens were arrested after an attempted burglary at Bridge Primary School last Wednesday, while a day earlier two youths trying to steal a go-kart used for disabled pupils at Donard Primary school were also arrested.

The weekend before a camera was stolen from St Mary’s PS in Reilly Park. Earlier in June windows were smashed at Banbridge Academy and lead was stolen from Abercorn PS in two separate incidents.

The spate of thefts comes just as police launch their School Watch programme for the summer, reminding people to look out for unusual or suspicious activity at local schools.

Principal of Donard PS Edel Lavery said the break-in at a shed outside the school was “extremely disappointing”.

“Those involved tried to take a go-kart from the premises,” she said. “It is used for the children and I would just like to stress to those responsible that these children need all the facilities we have here for them.

“We are very grateful to the people who raised the alarm - the people of Banbridge are and have always been so good to us.”

The 15 and 16 year-old culprits were questioned on suspicion of theft and criminal damage and later released.

Neighbourhood Inspector Jacqui Gillespie added her praise to the local community following the arrests of a 13, 14 and 15 year-old at Bridge Primary School.

“I want to highlight the fact that successful arrests were made thanks to a member of the public alerting us to the incident,” said Inspector Gillespie. “It is an excellent indicator of the absolute value of working in partnership with our community. We have had a run of damage to schools recently and this will go some way towards reassuring the community of our commitment to tackling this type of crime.”

The teens were questioned on suspicion of attempted burglary and released on bail pending further enquiries.

Local schools will form part of regular police patrols this summer local PSNI have asked anyone who lives near a school to support us in this by keeping an eye out for anything unusual or suspicious.

Anyone with any information about this incident or who wishes to report any suspicious activity on school premises after hours or during holidays can telephone police on 0845 600 8000 or in an emergency dial 999 and ask for police.