Village school hit by oil thieves again

Ruth Denham holds the padlock broken off by thieves who stole oil from Sutton St James Primary School, while teacher Yvonne Morgan stands with pupils next to the school's oil tank.
Ruth Denham holds the padlock broken off by thieves who stole oil from Sutton St James Primary School, while teacher Yvonne Morgan stands with pupils next to the school's oil tank.
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Sutton St James Primary School is counting the cost after thieves got away with an estimated £2,500 worth of heating oil.

Residents living near the school are being asked to keep their eyes open for any suspicious activity after a break-in some time on Monday evening when it is claimed that about 3,500 litres of heating oil was stolen.

Interim headteacher Karen Wiles said thieves drove across a playing field and then used bolt cutters to get through wiring around an oil tank before using metal piping to steal the oil.

“They cut quite a sizable hole in the wiring to get to the oil tank and we think about 3,500 litres of oil was taken,” Miss Wiles said.

“We reckon its value is about £2,500 but the cost of repairing the wiring and fitting CCTV, as the police have advised us to, means we’re looking at a total bill of about £4,000 to replace what’s been lost and to prevent this happening again.

“Our governors are quite concerned because this isn’t a one-off incident as we’ve had oil stolen on at least three previous occasions in recent years.

“We’ve invested in an anti-theft cage to go round the tank but this latest offence does make us feel as if we’re being got at.”

Police visited the school on Tuesday to discuss security but chairman of governors Paula van Dyke said lessons would be as normal for pupils.

But she added: “These thefts are potentially affecting children’s education and it’s appalling.”

Spalding community policing inspector Jim Tyner said: “Thefts of heating oil takes place on an irregular basis in isolated rural areas and South Holland is always at risk from travelling criminals looking for vulnerable properties.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting incident number 70 of April 23.