SCHOOLS must do more to combat being broken into, according to a headteacher.
Lyndon Smith, headteacher of St John’s CE Primary School in Gosport, has called on schools to step up their security after a spate of thefts and vandalism in recent months.
St John’s has been broken into twice in the past two weeks – with the Year Reception reading beach hut being targeted by thugs.
On both occasions, the beach hut has been broken into and completely ransacked, with the entire building being trashed.
The reading beach hut was used by the school as an interactive learning experience for the youngsters, and construction had only just been completed.
The news comes after eight bikes were stolen from St Mary’s Catholic School in Ann’s Hill Road earlier this month, and Lee-on-the-Solent Infant School in Elmore Road was vandalised back in November last year.
Mr Smith said: ‘We came in after the weekend and were shocked by what had happened.
‘I know there has been a spate of vandalism and theft going on for schools in the area, but you never think that your school will be affected.
‘The beach hut itself was created by the early youth team for people to enjoy their reading time.
‘When I found out that the beach hut had been broken into and smashed up I was absolutely devastated.
‘To then find out that it had been broken into once again was even worse.
‘We have had an issue for a little while now with people breaking into schools in the area.
‘To have this happen on a consistent basis is really counter-productive to what schools are trying to achieve – we just want to encourage youngsters to learn and their educational environment is getting trashed on a weekly basis.’
St John’s school will now be taking additional measures to stop thugs from breaking into the school grounds, and is urging other schools to follow suit.
Mr Smith said: ‘What we’re doing is having the front of the school re-fenced to try and keep people out.
‘It is sad for the school and for the children that it has come to this.
‘Hopefully other schools in the area are also able to do something to stop what has been going on.’
A Hampshire police spokesman urged people and schools to report any crimes.
He said: ‘At some point between 7.15pm on March 8 and 6.30am the following morning several children’s bicycles were stolen from a shed at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School on Anns Hill Road in Gosport.
‘At some point between 6pm on March 10 and 8am on March 12 a small hut in the playground of St Johns Church of England Primary School on Grove Road in Gosport was entered.
‘The door and other items inside were damaged.
‘If you saw anything suspicious please call 101 quoting 44180089033 or 44180092838 respectively.
‘We encourage members of the public and schools to report any incidents of crime, such as criminal damage and burglary, to us by calling 101.
‘This ensures that our Neighbourhood Policing Teams can build an accurate picture of the crimes happening in their area, which will enable an appropriate response to be taken by these local officers.’