Who is stealing milk from Spalding schoolchildren?

Cole, Harry, Megan, Finnlay and St Paul's business manager Natalie Hulley with the broken 'secure box'. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG040316-134TW
Cole, Harry, Megan, Finnlay and St Paul's business manager Natalie Hulley with the broken 'secure box'. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG040316-134TW
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Who steals milk from the mouths of children at a Spalding primary school and nursery?

St Paul’s staff say there have been between ten and 15 thefts of milk in this school year, which means pupils miss out on vital nutrition during the school day.

The school thought it had stopped the thefts by installing a “secure box” with a combination lock for its early hours deliveries.

But that box was smashed open last week.

Headteacher Kira Nicholls said: “I just can’t believe somebody thinks that it’s okay to pinch the children’s milk. I really do struggle with that.”

The 18 pints for the nursery and 60 little cartons are not all stolen – some are deliberately spoiled or smashed.

Miss Nicholls said: “We have had bottles smashed and milk spilled all over the car park and little cartons thrown onto the playground, where they have exploded and sprayed milk everywhere.”

The secure box was smashed on Tuesday night, when milk was stolen, and milk was taken again on Thursday night.

Miss Nicholls said the school may be forced to install security cameras to stop the thefts, but that would be another burden on an already tight budget, or switch supplier as the current supplier can only deliver at 1.30am.

She said: “If the dairy can’t deliver any later, when the school is open, then they are going to lose our business because we need to ensure the children have their milk and we are not wasting our money and Government money – ultimately it could affect their (the dairy’s) business because we just can’t keep losing it.”

St Paul’s Community Primary School and Nursery, in Queens Road, is in the district council’s St Paul’s Ward and home to some of the most deprived families in South Holland.

Government rules say children in the nursery, reception and year one are entitled to free milk.

The school also buys in additional milk supplies to give pupils a healthy drink option at lunchtimes.

Miss Nicholls has put out a plea to witnesses – or anyone who knows who is involved in these thefts – to call police on 101.

“The school is ultimately losing money and the children are missing out on valuable nutrition,” she said. “If anybody who has information can come forward, I would be very grateful.”

• You can also report anonymously any information you have about the thefts to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.