Community rallies round after North Walsham school vandalism

Vandalism at North Walsham Junior, Infant and Nursery School. Head teacher Clare Fletcher.Picture: A

Vandalism at North Walsham Junior, Infant and Nursery School. Head teacher Clare Fletcher.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A pair of teenage boys have been arrested after a North Walsham school was targeted by vandals twice over the half-term holiday.

The town is still in shock after the attacks at the federation of North Walsham Junior, Infant School and Nursery on Manor Road on Wednesday and Friday night.

Executive headteacher Clare Fletcher is 'overwhelmed' by the offers of help from parents, residents and businesses.

But the school needs help replacing its new £1,000 children's play equipment storage shed, which was damaged.

Mrs Fletcher said: 'Quite rightly everyone has told us how they abhor this disgusting behaviour and we would like to thank everyone for their concern and support at this time. It has made a real difference to all the staff and children to know how concerned our community was about us.'

The separate attacks happened between 5.30pm on Wednesday and 9am the next day and from 8pm to 10pm on Friday.

Police arrested two 16-year-old boys from the North Walsham area in connection with the incidents on suspicion of criminal damage. Both were released on bail.

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During the first attack the play equipment shed door was kicked in, items were strewn across the field, turf above outdoor play tunnels was ripped up and one row of windows along the mobile classroom were smashed with concrete.

After that damage was cleared up, the other row of mobile windows was smashed on Friday night.

Vandals threw paint inside the unit ruining a new carpet, drew offensive drawings on the blackboard, kicked over bookshelves and tossed benches across the field.

The main clean-up in the mobile classroom, which could take several weeks to refurbish, happened on Monday.

One of the volunteers included a man from North Yorkshire who was visiting his North Walsham family but wanted to help after seeing the vandlism pictures on the school's Facebook page.

Thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused but the mobile classroom repairs will be funded by insurance.

Parent and child art sessions, coffee mornings and adult education classes and parent-teacher association meetings, normally based in the unit, will be held in another location until the damage is repaired.

Parent Billy Smith, 31, from Wright's Close, North Walsham, who helped the clean-up, said: 'It is disgusting. People have come down here and damaged resources for the children for no reason.'

His 15-year-old foster daughter Mayah Hamilton said the damage was 'out of order'.

Debbie Bedford, a school inclusion link worker, said: 'It is sad that this has happened. I have no idea what would make somebody do this. The children are upset.'

The damage on the field has been cleared up.

School security will be reviewed and police are stepping up patrols around the area.

North Walsham mayor and businessman Richard Sims blasted the culprits of the school vandalism as 'mindless idiots with nothing better to do'.