Break-in at St Brendan’s

A CRAIGAVON primary school has been broken into for the second time in just over a week

Thugs broke into St Brendan’s late at night on Friday, January 21, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Vandals struck again on Monday night (January 31), but were scared off by a resident who contacted the police.

Officers attended the scene shortly afterwards.

The two intruders, believed to be in their teens or early twenties, wore dark hoodies and were caught on camera by the school’s CCTV system

Theresa O’Hagan, the principal at St Brendan’s, said she was “furious”.

“It’s really worrying that people are prepared to carry out such acts at a time of huge cuts to school budgets,” said Mrs O’Hagan.

During Monday’s break-in, the pair attempted to smash a window with a concrete bike stand before making off after they were interrupted.

The broken window cost more than £200 to replace.

More than £3,500 worth of damage was inflicted on the school during the break-in two weeks ago.

Two males, also believed to be in their teens or early twenties, destroyed two doors and attempted to steal a television.

While trying to take the television off a wall, they knocked over and smashed a large fish tank.

At this stage, police are not investigating a link between the two incidents.

17 laptops were also stolen from the school last June.

“This destruction has been carried out for no reason at all,” said Mrs O’Hagan.

“The money to replace equipment and repair this damage comes from central allocation. Therefore, this money will not go into education to benefit the children at this school.

“It’s such a waste at this needy time.”

Mrs O’Hagan added: “I would like to thank the person who scared these criminals off, as well as the police. Eight officers came out to the school very promptly.

“It’s great to know we have this wonderful backup.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Tommy O’Connor described the break-ins as “disgraceful”.

“This school has a well earned reputation for delivering a first class education for the children from Brownlow and it is nothing short of a disgrace to the local community that it should be the target of thieves and vandals,” he said.

“This school is an asset for the people of Brownlow and surrounding areas, and it should be treated with respect by all.

“The education of our children is already under financial strain due to budget cuts, and can do without the selfish actions of petty thieves inflicting further strain on a limited budget.”

Councillor O’Connor concluded: “St Brendan’s is an important and indeed an essential resource for the young people of the area and should be protected.

“Those who interrupted the latest would-be thieves deserve our thanks and I would call on anyone who knows the identity of the thieves to make sure that the information is given to the PSNI without delay.”

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact police at Craigavon on 0845 600 8000.

If you would prefer to provide information without giving your details, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.