Lead stolen from school after spate of vandalism

Ripley St Johns school caretaker Kevin Cresswell looka at the damage done by thiefs.

Ripley St Johns school caretaker Kevin Cresswell looka at the damage done by thiefs.

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LEAD thieves struck at a Ripley primary school over the weekend.

Around 40 metres of lead flashing was stripped from the flat roof above the kitchen, dining room and main hall of St John’s CofE (Controlled) Primary School, on Dannah Street.

Site manager Kevin Cresswell discovered the theft on Tuesday morning after damp spots were found on a classroom wall where the rain had seeped through.

Headteacher Wendy Rose said: “I am really shocked that it has happened. It’s such a shame that people would do that to a kids’ school. I don’t really understand why because it will affect the kids’ future.

“We are setting the school’s budget in a time of economic crisis and this is the last thing you want to happen.

“The money could be spent on things that would benefit the pupils or enhance the building.

Mr Cresswell, 47, who has worked at the school for 15 years, said: “They have knifed it off and left a real mess behind them. The lead formed a water seal between the wall and the roof. Until we get it back on, the school will be exposed to the elements.”

Lessons were not cancelled at the school, which has just under 400 pupils ranging in age from three to 11.

The cost of materials and sealant will run to £500, with labour charges extra.

The school has been hit by a spate of vandal attacks in recent weeks.

Paper was stuffed into a downpipe and set on fire, but no serious damage was caused.

Mrs Rose said intruders regularly break into the school’s ground. She said: “They leave evidence behind of smoking and drinking and it’s increased in recent weeks.

“When I first started here two years ago we had very few incidents of vandalism but is has gradually increased.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police on 0345 123 3333.