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Thieves rob North Walsham infants school

PUBLISHED: 14:24 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 12:43 20 May 2010

CHILDREN at North Walsham Infants School have been unable to use an award-winning outdoor story area this week because thieves have stolen a large sun shade for the second time.

CHILDREN at North Walsham Infants School have been unable to use an award-winning outdoor story area this week because thieves have stolen a large sun shade for the second time.

Staff discovered the missing canvas sail, worth over £500, when the Manor Road school reopened on Tuesday morning after the bank holiday weekend.

Whoever stole it must have somehow climbed up about 10ft and removed the angled sail, measuring about 3m by 4m, from the vertical poles to which it had been securely fixed, said head teacher Clare Fletcher.

The original cream-coloured canvas was stolen over the summer holidays last year and school chiefs had opted for a royal blue replacement hoping that it would prove less attractive to thieves. They had also added padlocks to the fixings and written the school's name on the canvas in black marker pen.

But the thieves had managed to detach the canvas, leaving the padlocks behind. A window in an outdoor storage area at the school had also been broken, fluorescent lighting tubes thrown around, and a basketball hoop had been wrenched off a wall and was missing.

Mrs Fletcher said the shade, over a seating area, had been specially requested by parents to give children protection from the sun in the redesigned school grounds which last year won an award from the Norfolk Campaign to Protect Rural England.

“I will have to think very hard about what to do because I feel as if the thieves are just laughing at us and waiting for us to replace it so that they can take it again,” said Mrs Fletcher.

She appealed for anyone with information about the theft to contact North Walsham police on 0845 456 4567.

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