Village school suffers after ‘shameful’ theft

Members of a close-knit community have described the burglars who stole £20,000 of school computer equipment as “shameful”.

Raiders escaped with 26 laptops and eight tablet computers from Kersey Primary School after breaking into the building through a window.

The burglary took place sometime between 11am last Monday and 11am the next morning, with the school in Cherry Hill closed for the Easter holidays.

Andrew Cumming, chairman of Kersey Parish Council, said the computing equipment would be a huge loss to the school, which is attended by around 70 pupils aged four to 11 and was rated as outstanding in its last Ofsted inspection.

“This is very bad news for the school and it is most unfortunate that rural schools are being targeted,” he said.

“It is very upsetting and disappointing, but this is one of the challenges faced by rural communities.”

Mr Cumming said many in the village had been shocked by the break-in.

“We are anxious crime in our close-knit community does not increase,” he said. “We find this shameful behaviour.”

Around 10 schools in Suffolk have been targetted since January. Last month, 14 laptops, worth £5,600, were stolen from Monks Eleigh Primary School.

Sarah Partridge, a former parent governor at Kersey Primary School, said she felt police needed to do more to find those responsible.

“It is frustrating that police are not getting on with this and catching the culprits,” she said.

“Schools seem to be an easy target and this burglary will cause huge disruption to teaching as the computers are used in most lessons, not just ICT.”

Detective Inspector Nick Power, from Suffolk Police, said steps were being taken to protect schools.

“We are continuing to work with schools in the county to encourage them to do all they can to ensure the security of their buildings and equipment,” he said.

Anyone with any information should contact police on 101.