'Disgraceful' lead theft from Rushden roof leaves school with bill for thousands of pounds

The theft is the latest in a long line of vandalism and criminal damage

Thursday, 28th January 2021, 4:01 pm
Tennyson Road Infant School

A Rushden school is counting the cost after a weekend lead theft from the roof left thawing snow and rain leaking through their roof and ceiling.

Tennyson Road Infant School in Highfield Road had been shut for the weekend and a further day due to heavy snow, but it was only when the water started to pour through the roof that investigations uncovered the cause.

The school has been subjected to several break-in attempts, vandalism and thefts over the past few years and the school staff would like the public's help in tracing the lead thieves.

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The lead was removed from the roof

A school spokesman said: "We are asking for your help, help to save our school from the constant attack we seem to be under from people thinking they have the right to come and destroy our school.

"Unfortunately, I find myself in utter despair as yet again we have been the target for some undesirable characters.

"Our lovely school has had a lot of issues recently with trespassers, vandals, thieves and generally people up to no good on our premises.

"We have had our electronic gates broken numerous times, a camera ripped from the wall, expensive children’s transport bikes stolen, part of our sensory garden damaged, games played on our roof and now to add insult to injury we have had them back again."

Water poured through the roof and ceilings onto equipment

On Saturday, January 23, between 10.40pm and 11pm two people were seen on CCTV to scale the fence between the school and the neighbouring Pemberton Centre.

They then removed a padlock from one of the gates and gained access to the roof where they stripped the lead flashing - removing a number of tiles in the process.

The spokesman said: "Due to the weekend ,and then a snow day on Monday, unfortunately we didn’t notice this until Tuesday morning.

"They have caused a significant amount of damage and due to the snow and rain over the following few days we have now had leaks within the building causing further damage and cost.

"The water came through the ceiling of one of our corridors and went on to electrical items. It's going to cost us thousands of pounds to repair and replace."

Damage was also caused to one of the children’s sheds, resulting in it being unusable.

The school believes that the two people on the roof may have had more than one other accomplice to help move the lead through the fence, walking with it down an alley towards Birchall Road.

Appealing for help from residents with doorbell cameras and CCTV, the spokesman said: "Could anyone that was within the local area near to those times please check any CCTV, ring doorbell or dashcam footage to see if you can pick up three, possibly four people.

"We are aware that they were still in or near to the alley at roughly 11pm.

"We can identify what the two trespassers/vandals/thieves were wearing so will be able to check they are the same people.

"If you think you might know who it is please inform us or the police.

"We need to put a stop to these disgraceful human beings before they end up causing damage beyond repair or doing something that causes harm to any of the children or staff within the building.

"So please, if you or you know anyone within the area that might have some form of footage, please check it for us as we need as much evidence as possible.

"We are not a huge school with an endless pot of money, we are a small infant school which is constantly targeted, we are currently looking after critical worker and vulnerable children, we are working hard to keep everyone safe and have to deal with this on top of an already stressful time, so we are appealing for any help, no matter how big or small."

Anyone with any information regarding the incident can call Northamptonshire Police on 101 and quote CR21000056772.