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St Nicholas School roof looted
9:30pm Saturday 5th May 2012 in Local
Staff at St Nicholas School in Chippenham have hit out at the heartless vandals who stole lead from the roof of one of their buildings.
Thieves struck at the end of April, taking strips of lead from the main building.
Nancy Tucker, who is a staff governor at the special school, went into work on April 21, a Saturday morning, and was dismayed at what she found.
She said: “I was due to meet a builder there for some routine maintenance on the Saturday morning.
“When I turned up he asked me: ‘Having roof work done, are you?’. I had to say, ‘Well no, we’re not’.
“I was shocked to find gaping holes in the roof, with one large piece of lead flashing hanging down dangerously.”
Inside the picture was even worse. Heavy overnight rain had got in through the now insecure roof, causing heavy water damage to ceiling tiles, walls, flooring and cupboards.
One primary classroom, which houses seven to nine- year-olds with severe learning difficulties, was particularly badly hit.
What has made matters even worse is the recent bad weather, which has delayed repairs by weeks and caused damage to other classrooms.
The school has made provision to keep the worst-hit areas safe, so the children’s education isn’t affected, but builders are finding it difficult to access the roof in the conditions.
St Nicholas’ head teacher Jill Owen said: “I am dismayed anyone would want to steal from our children.
“Our students have enough challenges to cope with on a daily basis, simply dealing with a range of complex learning difficulties and other disabilities.
“We are very proud of our students and our school and won’t let this hold us back.”
This is the latest of a wave of attacks which have swept the nation, as scrap metal prices have soared.
Mrs Tucker said the school was fully insured for the damage and the lead would be replaced with an alternative material which had little value.
Inspector Martin Schorah, of Wiltshire Police, said: “We continue to be proactive around this offence. It is particularly nasty when it happens somewhere like a school because it impacts on all of the pupils.
“In January we carried out a series of dawn raids on scrap metal dealers and in March we did roadside checks on waste vehicles. Since then the figures for lead thefts have dropped.”