MISSILE-WIELDING thugs who attacked a Keighley primary school have been condemned by community leaders.
Images from CCTV cameras – installed following a string of previous incidents at the school – have been released this week in a bid to catch the callous culprits, who hurled huge chunks of stone at the building and kicked doors.
The Keighley News has taken the decision to obscure faces of the youths caught on camera, even though the law does not prevent us from publishing them, because they are evidently very young and we are concerned for their welfare.
But the town’s MP, Kris Hopkins, this week described the attack as an “outrageous and sickening episode of wanton vandalism”.
Gutted bosses at Keighley St Andrew’s CE Primary School have been left counting the cost of the destruction – money that should have been spent on pupils.
School business manager, Gill Higham, discovered the scene of devastation at the start of the Easter holidays.
She said: “Vandalism eats up money. It might just be a bit of fun to those who commit the damage, but it’s sickening when this happens.”
Images show three youths, one clearly holding lumps of rock, around the Lustre Street building at about 5.50pm on April 9.
Gill Higham said: “I came into school on the Monday and went round the back to water some plants and saw broken glass.
“Two windows were smashed but it was just good fortune it wasn’t more. Some had been hit strongly but didn’t break.
“The cost of repairing the damage is about £400 and whilst we have insurance, there is an excess to pay and it affects the premiums. This extra money is funding we should be spending on the children.
“The maintenance budget has already been cut drastically this year, so this is a real blow.”
Two years ago, yobs destroyed a garden tended by youngsters at the 400-pupil school, and in a separate incident, burglars escaped with a haul of computer equipment.
CCTV, part of a package of security measures at the school, was upgraded about six months ago.
Now, calls are being made for anyone with information about the incident and those responsible to contact the police, who are examining the CCTV footage.
Mr Hopkins is calling on anyone with information about the latest attack to contact police.
“Those behind this must be identified and punished for their mindless actions and I have no doubt the police will do their very best to ensure this happens,” he said.
“Any resident who has even the smallest piece of information that might assist investigating officers should pass this on in confidence.”
Keighley Central ward councillors have also blasted those responsible and called on the community to help police bring them to justice.
“This type of act is totally unacceptable and the perpetrators must be stopped,” said Cllr Abid Hussain.
Cllr Zafar Ali said: “I strongly condemn any act of vandalism but attacks on schools, which are at the heart of communities and our children’s learning, are especially abhorrent.
“Not only does it have financial implications for the school but it affects the morale of staff and pupils.”
Police confirmed they are investigating an incident of criminal damage at the school.
Anyone with information should contact the Keighley Area Neighbourhood Team on 101, quoting crime reference 13170162193, or Crimestoppers – anonymously – on 0800 555 111.