A LOCAL primary school has been left £1,000 out of pocket after two thieves broke in at the weekend.
However, the school’s principal has insisted he wants to end the first term on a high note, despite the burglary.
St Patrick’s Primary School, Aghagallon, was broken into at around 1.30am on Friday (December 16).
The thieves made off with two digital cameras, a cash box and £38 of children’s snack money.
It was also reported that the Beeches Day Nursery in Aghalee was broken into on the same evening.
It’s believed the burglars failed to steal anything from the nursery.
CCTV footage showing two masked individuals breaking into the school has been passed on to police.
Kevin O’Hara, principal of St Patrick’s, hit out at those responsible.
“The people who carried out this act knew what they were doing,” he said.
“They knew exactly where to go.”
The culprits gained access to the school by smashing a window at the front of the building.
They then broke open a safe and made off with a cash box.
“Fortunately, the box only contained receipts, but they did steal the children’s snack money, which was about £38.
“They must have known our Christmas play was held last week, and it looks like they had that in mind.”
It’s thought it will cost around £400 to replace the broken windows and another £400 to replace the school safe.
He continued: “The pupils at the school are determined to end this term on a positive note, despite this setback.
“Some of the children will be taking part in the carol service before school finishes and we had a fantastic show earlier this week when the Armagh Rhymers visited.”
SDLP councillor Joe Nelson, whose wife works at the Beeches Day Nursery, condemned the thieves and urged people to be vigilant over the Christmas period.
“I’m led to believe that these attacks were carried out by the same people,” said Cllr Nelson.
“They didn’t vandalise anything in the nursery, so that suggests they were just after money.
“The break-in at St Patrick’s was very similar.”
He continued: “These crimes are absolutely abhorrent, and I would urge people in the area to remain vigilant over the Christmas break.
Police are appealing to anyone who noticed any activity around St Patrick’s Primary School over the weekend or has information as to the whereabouts of the digital cameras to contact them on 0845 600 8000.
You can also contact the independent Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.