Office equipment stolen during a break-in and vandalism attack on an Irish language play school in Creggan has been recovered and returned to the school.
Naiscoil na Rinne in Cromore Gardens, Creggan, was targeted by metal thieves who stole copper piping and a water tank from the premises during the Easter holidays.
The theft and subsequent damage was discovered when staff arrived to reopen the naiscoil after the Easter break.
Several items of office equipment and a sum of money were also stolen from the naiscoil during the break-in.
The building also sustained water damage as a result of the theft of the pipes and water tank.
The stolen office equipment was returned to the school by members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM).
A spokesperson for the 32CSM said local teenagers were responsible for the break-in and added that the stolen metal had been passed on to adults to sell.
“Following approaches from the local community in Creggan and information offered from the community, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement were able to identify the perpetrators, recover the office equipment and return them to the school.
“The individuals responsible for the break-in were identified as local youths aged between 14 and 16 years-old and the copper was then passed on to adults who sold it on,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also condemned the theft and said such activities put the future of the facility in jeopardy.
“Bodies such as Naiscoil Na Rinne are poorly funded and struggle to exist in this time of austerity and the theft of items vital to the running of the school put at risk their ability to provide a service to a deserving community,” the 32CSM said.
The group also called for an immediate end to incidents of metal thefts in the area. “The 32 County Sovereignty movement would like to thank the members of the community for coming forward with the information which led to the recovery of the items and say to those responsible for these type of anti-social and anti-community actions to desist immediately,” the spokesperson said.
Staff at Naiscoil na Rinne estimated that it would take thousands of pounds to repair the damage caused by the theft of the copper piping and water tank and said covering the cost would put a strain on their already-limited resources.
The building has previously been damaged by burst water pipes during the harsh winter of 2010. The pipes that were stolen had been newly installed following the damage caused by ice.