STAFF at a primary school have spoken of the heartbreak felt by teachers and parents alike after the school’s fleet of bicycles was stolen.
Eight bicycles were stolen by thieves earlier this month from St Mary’s Catholic School in Anns Hill Road, Gosport.
The school believes that the thieves broke down the door of the bike shed to get in.
The bicycles were being used by the school to teach pupils how to ride a bike – a scheme that was extremely popular.
School business manager Helen Cook said the burglary was a great loss to the school.
She said: ‘It was Friday morning when the caretaker here at the school found out what had happened.
‘He saw that the door of the shed was hanging off the doorframe – and that the bikes had been taken from inside.
‘There were eight bikes in total – four of which were balance bikes – which we have been using for a cycling project with the students to encourage them to start riding, which we felt was a very important thing for us to do.
‘We had a bike for each year group and so it is really disappointing that something like this has happened.
‘I do feel quite sad, because we had paid for these bikes with our PE funding and had had them for just over a year.
‘School budgets are tighter than ever before so to buy something for the children and then have that taken away is so disheartening.’
Helen said that the atmosphere around the school had plummeted since the incident. She said: ‘The headteacher told the students about what had happened in an assembly on Friday.
‘Everyone has been feeling really downbeat since then, from staff to students and even the parents.
‘Nobody is really sure what to say to one another, or how to feel about what’s happened – so it’s a very weird situation to be in.
‘The bikes were great for not only teaching the children how to ride, but to also boost their confidence.
‘The problem we have is that we just don’t know where to go from here; we’re worried that if we replace the bikes they’ll just get stolen again.’
Anyone with information regarding the stolen bikes is asked to call 101, quoting the crime reference number 44180089033.