Burglars raid primary school in �15,000 laptop theft

BURGLARS stole �15,000 worth of laptops during a raid at a Saffron Walden school over the weekend.

St Thomas More Primary School, in South Road, was targeted by thieves between Friday evening and Monday morning in what was described as a “callous act that has compromised the learning of more than 90 children”.

The culprits disabled the alarm system and broke in by smashing the window of a door, before making off with 20 laptops believed to be worth around �15,000 from a locked cabinet.

Headteacher Mary Jo Hall said it was “disgraceful” that pupils’ learning had been disrupted because of a burglary.

“I would like to express how sorry I am that this has happened. We were devastated when we found our laptops had been stolen in what was a despicable act by some particularly callous criminals,” she told the Reporter.

“The actions of these mindless thugs have compromised the education of our Key Stage 1 pupils and forced them to miss out on a crucial part of their ICT learning.”

Mrs Hall also warned other schools about the possibility of the theft being repeated over the summer break – with police confirming similar incidents have been reported in Royston as well as other areas of north Essex.

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The laptops had been provided by parents of the schoolchildren through a number of fundraising activities and are not expected to be replaced until October at the earliest.

A spokesman from Essex Police appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

“We would like to hear from anyone who was near the school between Friday and Monday morning who may have seen anything suspicious,” he said.

“Also, if people in the area are being offered laptops on the cheap and in suspicious circumstances, we would urge them to contact us.”

The incident has prompted Uttlesford’s crime reduction officer Pete Caulfield to encourage residents to keep a close eye on schools over the summer.

“If you live near a school or pass by them regularly, you could make a big difference in keeping them secure over the summer break,” he said.

“Burglaries are a huge cost to schools, not only in terms of the money it takes to replace stolen equipment, but the inconvenience of repairing windows and doors and the irreplaceable damage to cherished items.”

Anyone with information about the burglary can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.