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Vandals strike at school

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Vandals strike at school thumbnailOne of the windows smashed by vandals at St Eugene's Primary School, Victoria Bridge.

A LOCAL primary school has been left counting the cost after vandals targeted its grounds at the weekend.

According to police who are investigating the incident, two windows of the school building were smashed at St Eugene's Primary School in Victoria Bridge.

Staff at the school - which had been closed to pupils for the Bank Holiday - were shocked to discover the destruction when they returned after the break.

It is believed the culprits responsible for the damage were using the grounds as a 'drinking den' over the weekend.

In a statement, the PSNI said: "Police have received a report of criminal damage at St Eugene's Primary School, Victoria Bridge.

"Two windows were broken at the school sometime over the weekend. While police were at the scene they observed several empty alcohol bottles and cans. It was obvious that the school grounds have been used as a drinking spot at the weekend."

The small rural school will now have to foot the bill for repairs at a time when budgets are already under extreme pressure.

Condemning the damage, local Ulster Unionist councillor, Derek Hussey, said he was "dismayed" by the incident.

Speaking to the Strabane Weekly News yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), Alderman Hussey - who sits on Derry City and Strabane District Council - said: "I was dismayed to learn of both damage to property at St Eugene's Primary School and anti-social behaviour in the grounds of the school over the past weekend.

 

"Police were called to the scene with reported criminal damage to the school building and found two broken windows on site. It was further noted that liquor bottles and cans were left lying about the site indicating that the school grounds had been used as a drinking den over the weekend!

"It is a sad reflection on some in our society that they would engage in such anti-social behaviour anywhere, much less in the grounds of a school."

Mr Hussey, a former teacher, encouraged anyone with information to take it to the authorities.

"Schools and their environments are for our children and, as such, should be respected by all. I would urge anyone with any knowledge of this to contact local police and assist to bring those responsible to account," he said.

It is not the first time local primary schools in the Strabane area have been targeted by vandals.

Both campuses at St Catherine's Primary School in the town have regularly become targets for anti-social behaviour and earlier this year vandals caused widespread destruction to signage, the play area and an eco-sensory garden built by pupils.

Meanwhile, St Theresa's Primary School in the Glebe also reported a repair bill of 7,000 after vandals gained entry to its grounds causing damage to its roof and flower boxes last May.

Meanwhile, appealing for information about the damage to St Eugene's, the PSNI spokesperson added: "School grounds are for children... If anyone has any information about this criminal damage, please contact Strabane PSNI on 101 quoting reference number 240 of 30/05/17."

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