Corby classroom break-in shock as books torched causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage

The books were stolen from the Year 5 classroom

Monday, 16th August 2021, 6:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 10:10 am

A break-in at a Corby school has left staff in 'disbelief' after books were taken from a classroom and burned in the school's own outdoor fire pit area.

The sick thief (or thieves) broke into Hazel Leys Academy last week with valuable reading material stolen from the Year 5 classroom.

Closed for the summer break, as soon as the crime was discovered staff came in to help salvage about 100 copies of the reading books - worth £500.

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Hazel Leys Academy with the burnt books (inset)

And world-famous authors have rallied to help the school with writers Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Anthony Horowitz both tweeting their support.

Chrissie Barrington, executive principal at Hazel Leys Academy, said: “It is unbelievable that anyone would do this to our academy. We are in disbelief at what has occurred and can’t imagine why anyone would go out of their way to take such vital learning resources away from our pupils.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from the community, including donations from Satis Education, Collins Primary and a Go Fund Me page, which will go towards replacing the much-loved books before pupils return from the summer holidays.”

The Go Fund Me page has raised £815 so far, smashing the £500 goal with a generous donation of £250 from author Mr Cottrell-Boyce.

The books were set alight

Hundreds of pounds’ worth of damage was caused to the Gainsborough Road primary school, part of Greenwood Academies Trust.

About 100 copies of Collins’ Big Cat reading books were taken from the classroom with some later being found at a fire pit in the academy’s grounds on August 10 - police were immediately notified.

Wayne Norrie, CEO at Greenwood Academies Trust, said: “I am deeply upset by what has occurred at the academy. Reading is a cherished skill and pastime across the trust and is a key part of a child’s development. I know first-hand how hard colleagues at Hazel Leys Academy worked to raise money for these books, so it is devastating for these efforts to be disrespected in this way.

“I am proud of the way my colleagues have responded to this incident and am also thankful for the support we have received from the wider community.

Hazel Leys Academy

"We will do everything possible to ensure these books are replaced so that our pupils continue to have access to an enriching range of reading materials."

One teacher took to Twitter - @MissMC_primary said: "Heartbroken doesn’t even cut it. These books, which are our home reading books, are virtually brand new. However, it’s the fact that someone thought it was okay to trespass on to private property & damage belongings that are crucial to our children’s learning" - followed by a heart break emoji.

Another wrote: "Stolen just to be burnt?? I can’t even comprehend the mentality of people like this. I’m so sorry about what they’ve done."

The academy has said that it is proudly committed to promoting a love of reading, not just because it is a vital life skill which supports academic success, but because reading has the power to fuel imagination, creativity and aspiration.

Adding that despite the disruption, the academy will still be safely welcoming pupils back on September 2, with staff working incredibly hard to ensure a wide range of reading materials are readily available.

Anyone with further information, should contact Northamptonshire Police by calling 101 and quoting crime reference number 21000454445.