04:00PM, Thursday 20 July 2017
Thieves have targeted a primary school for the second time in nine months and stolen £4,000 worth of laptops used to help its pupils with their lessons.
The ‘gutted’ headteacher of Cookham Dean CE Primary, Fenella Reekie, has urged anyone with information on the break-in to come forward after 14 of the children’s machines were stolen.
She worried the school would lose money paying its increased insurance premium that it would rather spend on the children.
The raiders broke in with bolt cutters and a crowbar some time between 4pm on Sunday and 8.05am on Monday.
Ms Reekie, who was alerted to the theft on Monday morning by the caretaker, who arrived earlier, said: “I was so upset I did not know what to say.”
She appealed: “Please, just let the police know if you can help catch these people that are doing this, that think it is OK to steal from children. Somebody must know.”
It followed a break-in during November when laptops were stolen, and Ms Reekie believed it was the same group. Security has been improved.
The laptops are also used by the pupils for maths, research and topic work. However, the bungling burglars failed to steal the chargers and the machines are all password protected.
The loss will now be claimed on insurance but Ms Reekie worried it would cost the school more money in raised premiums.
“Money is so tight in schools anyway, this is something we could do without,” she said.
“We should be spending it on enrichment for the children.”
While the news comes as a frustration to the pupils and staff, they were not prepared to let it dampen their spirits before they break up for the summer holidays tomorrow (Friday).
Describing the children as ‘amazing’, Ms Reekie said one pupil had said if somebody needed a laptop badly enough to burgle, they could understand it.
“Even though they are really disappointed, they are still thinking about other people,” she said.
The break-in also follows the school’s outstanding rating in its recent SIAMS, the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools.
A police spokeswoman said: “Investigations are ongoing. If anyone witnessed the incident or any suspicious behaviour in the area, please call Thames Valley Police on 101 quoting incident reference 43170210362.”
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