Swindon Advertiser ran an article (complete with picture) this weekend regarding the theft last week from South Marston School:
A PRIMARY school has called on the community to be its eyes and ears after thieves stole both of its lightning conductors.
Staff at South Marston C of E School were dismayed on Wednesday after finding the school had been targeted overnight. The thieves smashed security lights and used cutters to gain access to the conductors before ripping off the metal. The school prides itself on being a part of the village and has never needed security fencing or CCTV cameras.
Headteacher Alison Lowe said: “We would ask the local community and others passing by the school to be vigilant and aware. We have also put the request out to parents via our website and through our newsletter. We have never had a big fence around the school as it’s not in keeping with the village, so we would ask people going past to keep a look out. We will be replacing the security lighting and conductors immediately and installing CCTV at a considerable cost.”
Mrs Lowe said there had been no other incidents of metal theft from the school since she took over four years ago. The stolen haul is estimated to be worth between £20 and £100 if sold on to a dealer.
Swindon has been plagued by metal thefts and has been part of a county-wide police crackdown. Wiltshire Police held a day of action on January 31, including raids on scrap-yards. Police have also carried out road-side checks on vehicles.
Mrs Lowe said: “One of the conductors was stolen from the Victorian roof and side of the building and the other from the original bell tower. They smashed the security lights at the front of the school and used gutters to get to the conductors, which had wire around them and were earthed to the ground. It was obviously an organised theft as they came prepared.”
The school, which has stood in Old Vicarage Lane for almost 140 years, has yet to find out how much of the replacement costs will be met by its insurers.
Mrs Lowe said: “We haven’t had any vandalism at the school since I have been here and we have been well-cherished by the local community. We are really upset and disappointed that this would happen to a Victorian building and a place of learning.”
A spokeswoman for Wiltshire Police confirmed officers were investigating and appealed for witnesses to contact Gablecross police station on 101.