May 25 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Hunter
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
CRIMINALS have stolen around £90,000 worth of computers from schools across Suffolk after the latest theft which the headteacher branded as ‘sick’.
Hartismere School, in Eye, has become the latest to be targeted by thieves after 14 Apple iMac computers were stolen worth £14,000.
Police have said the crimes are linked and have warned schools to increase security after Hartismere became the 17th school to be hit since November.
Headteacher Jim McAtear said: “They were something students would go to everyday - only for education purposes, nothing for social - just to support their learning. It just feels like an absolute shame, just unnecessary, just greedy. Whoever did this are selfish, thoughtless people. The police seem to think it’s a very organised group that are behind it.
“We will be increasing the level of security massively. I think the feeling is that it is incredibly disappointing that so many people in our community work so hard to give every resource and support for the children. There are people passing through the community who do not really care about education for the children and who are happy to damage it. That’s sickening.”
“It’s just such a shame because it is the children that will not get the full benefits of the resources that would have been there for them. We have never had any Macs stolen before. We have suffered very little from theft over the years in the school, it’s very unusual in our area. The Macs were used for all sorts, practically any subject. They provided such a wide range of positive resources.”
He appealed for anyone with information to contact police. The computers had been used by students in the sixth-form library.
Police have said since last November a total of around 100 computers have been stolen.
Earlier this month eight Apple iMac computers worth about £5,000 were stolen from King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds.
On March 2, 14 laptops worth about £6,400 were stolen from Monks Eleigh Primary School.
Thieves stole 66 laptops worth about £25,000 from primary schools in Bardwell, Moulton, Risby and Rougham in just a month between December and January.
A police spokesman said the investigation was ongoing. He said: “We have been in contact with all the schools offering crime reduction advice – the safer neighbourhood teams have been talking to them.
“They went into all schools when it started. We cannot patrol every school in the county. It’s all about the schools getting as much security as they can get to make sure items are properly locked away in the schools.”
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said schools manage their own security but they do provide a maintenance service in response to a break-in.
The theft at Hartismere happened over the weekend, between 5.30pm on March 8 and 9.30am on Monday.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.