School play equipment damaged following two arson attacks

Children at a local primary have been left unable to use their outdoor play equipment this summer whilst they wait for it to be repaired.

Police were called to St Anne's Fulshaw Primary School on Sunday, 16th May, to investigate damage caused by vandals setting a bin alight underneath the children's large play equipment.

The incident occurred overnight and was discovered by the caretaker on Sunday morning. While the bin and rubbish inside it had melted the astroturf is also destroyed where the fire took place. The rest of the wooden structure only seems to be affected by smoke damage and soot.

Headteacher, Clare Daniel, said "I am so disappointed that someone has not only trespassed on the school grounds, but also caused such senseless damage to the equipment provided for our children. Our large climbing frame was bought for the children by the PTA in 2004 and has been a key feature of our outdoor provision ever since then. The damage caused by the fire will cost the school a significant amount of money to repair and the equipment will be out of action for the children during this lovely weather.

"The police have been very helpful and have gathered evidence from the scene. The school environment is also well covered by CCTV cameras and so we are very hopeful of retrieving clear images from our footage. We know that the incident happened overnight because I was at school myself at teatime on Saturday, checking on our chickens, and saw no evidence of damage then.

Police were called to St Anne's Fulshaw Primary School again on Sunday evening (15th May) after a neighbour rang them to report that two youths were in the school grounds. They pair had lit a fire on the field last night.

Clare Daniel, added "I would ask our neighbours on Nursery Lane, Acacia Avenue, South Oak Lane and Chapel Lane to call the police on their 101 number if they observe any trespassers on the school property in the evening or at weekend, in the hope that we can keep this kind of behaviour out of our lovely community."

Updated: 9pm, 16th May

Headteacher Clare Daniel has been reviewing the CCTV footage for Saturday night and has sent the following descriptions of those involved and their actions, in the hope this will prompt someone's memory, or conscience!

Boy A arrived on a bike (BMX/small mountain bike) outside school at 7.49pm, aged approx 13-16 and wearing a light blue hoody with a large white Adidas logo, pale blue/grey trousers or tracksuit bottoms and black trainers with white trim. He was of slight build with reasonably short light brown/fair hair. He waited outside school until 7.58pm when he was joined by Boy B and Girl A who arrived on foot. Boy B was wearing a dark blue hooded jacket with a grey lining, black tracksuit bottoms and trainers. He had dark brown hair and was of a larger build than Boy A. Girl A was wearing a beanie hat or cap and had mid length fair/light brown hair, worn loose. She was carrying a large pale coloured bag over her arm and was wearing a pale blue/grey zip fronted top with Adidas style white stripes down the arm, cropped jeans or Capri pants and large dark coloured Croc/Merrell slip-on style shoes.

They kicked a football around at the children's entrance to school, with Boy B smoking until 8.08pm when Boy A left on his bike. At one point they were kicking the football across the road, and also in the middle of the road until it went under a car parked outside number 1 Nursery Lane. They also kicked it into the Church Hall gardens and Boy B went to retrieve it. Several cars and people on foot passed them at this point and may remember seeing them or knowing them.

Boy B and Girl A were hugging and kissing on the footage so I assume they are in a relationship. At 8.08pm Boy B threw the ball into the playground and then climbed over then fence into the school's front garden, then over the garden gate into the playground. He was followed by Girl A and they headed to the school field. At 8.09pm Boy A arrived on foot and also climbed over the fence and gate to access the school playground and field. They are seen for a while on the field and then obviously head towards the play equipment.

At 9.49pm two people walked past the school with a torch and seemed to stop outside the gate looking into the grounds before walking on. At 9.57pm Boy A and Boy B are seen leaving the school grounds, using a torch or phone to light their way. I assume Girl A left by another route as she does not leave with them and I have watched every minute of the footage.

Ms Daniel confirmed that the images are very clear and all those involved were approximately 13-16 year olds.

Tomorrow she will be sharing the images with the police who will continue their enquiries and also going through the CCTV footage from Sunday evening.

St Anne's Fulshaw Primary School


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

David Nelson
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 2:11 pm
I sincerely hope the offenders are caught, made to see the impact of the damage caused, and suitably punished. As at least one is a smoker, I assume he will have the wherewithal to pay any fine imposed.