Reepham school bus wheels stolen

A Norfolk school is counting the cost after thieves stole the wheels from its minibus, disrupting studies and upsetting pupils.Chris Hassell, headteacher at Reepham High School, is fuming after the theft, which saw wheels and tyres taken in an overnight break-in at the premises, in School Road.Staff arrived to find the minibus propped up on bricks and the theft is expected to cost the school around �2,000 in total – money which could have been spent on staffing or equipment.

Chris Hassell, headteacher at Reepham High School, is fuming after the theft, which saw wheels and tyres taken in an overnight break-in at the premises, in School Road.

Staff arrived to find the minibus propped up on bricks and the theft is expected to cost the school around �2,000 in total – money which could have been spent on staffing or equipment.

Mr Hassell said: 'What kind of person steals from children? I'm so angry about this, it's so unfair.

'The vehicle was left in a very dangerous position. Fortunately site staff spotted it before any students arrived and made the minibus safe. If a child had touched the bus, it could easily have fallen and caused serious or even fatal injury.'

A group of 10 disappointed students, aged 14 to 15, had been due to travel to Easton College, near Norwich, to start a new BTEC course in agriculture.

'They were really keyed up and looking forward to the first session. They all turned up in their boots and overalls. The staff were tremendous. They used their own cars and we were able to hire a minibus, but it meant they were late on their first day. Children from all over the county go to that class and friendship groups are formed, but our pupils were left in the cold,' Mr Hassell said.

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Luckily, the school has been able to replace the wheels and the minibus is now back in use, but not before the costs had mounted.

The wheels and tyres cost around �1,500 to replace and were covered by insurance.

But associated costs, including minibus hire, staff time, a �100 excess fee and the prospect of increased insurance premiums, are expected to reach �2,000.

Mr Hassell added: 'For that �2,000, the school could have had an extra learning support assistant for one day a week for a year, seven laptops or books and equipment.

'The minibus was out of action for two days, which is significant in terms of what it meant to the students. We had to cancel a minibus assessment for one of the teachers, so they won't be able to drive pupils to sports matches.

'I've been really impressed by the pupils. A group of year nine pupils came up to me and asked what they could do to raise some money. I just think that's incredible, I'm so proud of them.'

The four wheels, four tyres and two rear tyres were stolen some time between 3.30pm on Tuesday and 7am the following day. It is thought the thieves climbed over a fence into the school grounds.

Witnesses are asked to call Reepham Safer Neighbourhood Team on 0845 456 4567 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

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