CHILDREN in Crossflatts were left “devastated” by heartless thieves who raided their primary school and made off with thousands of pounds worth of equipment.

A pair of men in balaclavas were caught on CCTV breaking into Crossflatts Primary in the early hours of the morning on November 26, getting away with 17 iPad Air devices.

Head teacher Nicola Bennett said the criminals came and left via the Leeds and Liverpool Canal side of the school building, adding it was obvious they knew exactly what they were after.

“They broke through a window and two locked doors,” she said. “They came prepared and before they actually broke in you can see them on the security cameras walking around the outside of the school with a big holdall.

“Once they got in they were in and out of the building in a few minutes. They didn’t take anything except the iPads.

“It’s very sad, and the children are devastated that someone would do this to their school.

“They used these iPads all the time as part of their learning – for taking photos, making videos, animations.

“With the school funding crisis we do not have the money we once had and although we are insured, once we claim our premiums will go up."

Mrs Bennett said all the stolen iPads are clearly marked with the Crossflatts Primary School logo.

They are also tagged with security water, and people who see devices like these being informally sold in the area or being marketed on social media are advised to contact the school.

Mrs Bennett said: "We're incredibly frustrated that people would go out and target a school. It's deplorable."

In a letter to Crossflatts Primary parents, she stressed the theft would not mean children's personal details could be identified.

She said she understood the thieves' aim would be to return each stolen device to its factory settings then sell it on.

Councillor Sara Hardman, a Crossflatts & Micklethwaite Ward councillor for Bingley Town Council, said: "This is shocking and I hope the police are actively investigating the CCTV. To stoop so low as to steal from a school is disgraceful.

"If the public are aware of iPads being offered for sale locally they should bear in mind where they might have come from."

Cllr Ros Dawson, chairman of Bingley Town Council, said: "It's absolutely appalling and I feel very sorry for the school and children who are losing out as a result.

"It's so disappointing for teachers who put a lot of effort into their lessons. They shouldn't have to deal with this upset and I hope the iPads can be recovered or replaced."

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said the burglars broke into the school at 1.50am on Monday November 26.

People with information about the men responsible, or the location of the stolen goods are asked to contact Shipley Neighbourhood Policing Team on the 101 number or use the 101 Live Chat facility on West Yorkshire Police's website.