School forced to close after theft ... of its roof

School forced to close after theft ... of its roof

HANGING Heaton Junior and Infants’ School was closed on Wednesday after thieves stole six tons of slate roof tiles.

Hundreds of Yorkshire stone panels were stripped off the Grade II-listed main building on High Street in an operation lasting from 12.30am to 5am.

Four suspects were recorded on CCTV making repeated trips back and forth from the roof.

Some of the school’s eight security cameras were turned around.

Tiles covering three-quarters of one side of the building over the school hall and classrooms were stolen.

All that was left was the felt underneath and some remaining tiles that had been dislodged.

It was feared those titles might fall through the felt into the rooms below, so the school was closed.

Headteacher Janet Thompson said: “They may think that this is a ‘faceless’ crime. But there are more than 100 families who have had the inconvenience and cost of having to find an extra day’s childcare.

“Pupils have had their learning disrupted and it’s also unsettling for them in that they come here to be safe.”

It was hoped repairs would let the school re-open yesterday (Thursday) for the last day before half-term.

Mrs Thompson branded the thieves as “mindless” and added: “It’s sickening. They seem to have spent the whole night taking the tiles down.”

Damage is estimated at £2,500 plus a bill for labour costs which Kirklees Council is likely to foot.

But increased security measures will have to come from the school’s budget, which will affect children’s education.

Mrs Thompson said: “Ramping up our security will mean less money for things like books and trips.”

Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East) condemned the culprits and said: “I think it’s an atrocious theft.

“It will cause a massive cost to the school, whether it’s covered by insurance or not.

“And there’s all the inconvenience and upset caused to children, which is why this incident is particularly awful.”

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