News

School staff ‘shocked and saddened’ after vandals strike

Thursday, 22 June 2017

School staff ‘shocked and saddened’ after vandals strike thumbnailVandals targeted windows at Knockavoe School and Resource Centre, Strabane, over a three night period last week.

STAFF at a local school have appealed for the community's help in protecting it after vandals targeted its grounds.

Four windows were damaged at Knockavoe School and Resource Centre, located just off the Melmount Road, after the property was targeted over a three-night period.

The latest incident is believed to have occurred at approximately 10pm last Thursday night, with previous similar incidents taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday between 8pm to 10pm.

Police have launched an investigation into the vandalism. Writing on Strabane PSNI's Facebook page, an officer said: "More pointless criminal damage at schools. Police are appealing for information after attending Knockavoe School and Resource Centre, Strabane, this morning (Friday) after four windows were smashed over the last few days."

The officer added: "Children do not need to see this. This damage is pointless and we are keen for any assistance the community can offer police regarding locating offenders."

The culprits, believed to have been operating from an area of wasteland located behind the school, used large rocks in their bid to cause maximum damage.

Staff at the school have expressed shock and sadness at the attack. Caroline Clements is head of the primary department at the school.

"We are very saddened that the school has been targeted and the windows damaged three nights in a row," she said. "Our windows are reinforced so whoever was behind it targeted the same area each night with extremely large rocks in the hope of causing more damage."

The teacher said that it is the first time in 12 years that the local school has been targeted.

"We are all shocked. We're very much involved in the community and this just comes days after we held our 'Getting to Know Knockavoe' day for all the community.

"To cause damage to any school, especially at a time when budgets are tight, is disappointing. We cater for vulnerable children with special needs so our equipment is specially adapted and if damaged, can take weeks to replace.

Thankfully, there was no other damage other than to the side windows and we've been able to keep it low key so as not to upset our pupils."

The PSNI has given a commitment to increasing mobile patrols in the area in a bid to deter any future incidents.

Mrs Clements added: "We've also spoken to the local community group to seek their help in deterring anyone from going near that wasteland and targeting the school again.

"With it going into the summer holiday period soon, we would also ask that everyone in the community be vigilant. If anybody notices anything untoward we would ask them to contact ourselves or police."

Police say their enquiries are continuing and have urged anyone with information to come forward.

The PSNI can be contacted on the 101 non-emergency number by quoting reference 228 16/6/17.

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