Children at a Derry primary school have been left “devastated” after thieves stole £700 they had collected to buy a lifesaving defibrillator machine, the school’s principal has said.
The money was stolen during a break-in at Nazareth House Primary School, Miller Street, on Tuesday night.
Principal Paul O’Hea said the school’s pupils had raised the money through a non-uniform day to buy the defibrillator following the sudden death of a man from the local area.
He said thieves broke a window and smashed reinforced glass doors in the school’s office to steal the money.
“The pupils are devastated,” Mr O’Hea said. “I went around all the classes to tell them and they are just gobsmacked and can’t understand why anyone would do that.
“These people obviously knew where to go to get the money so they must have known what it was for,” he added.
The principal also said a new collection is already underway and added the school is determined to buy a defibrillator. “When parents heard about the break-in they put their hands in their pockets and we have already had quite a few donations.
“We are not going to let this deter us. We will have a defibrillator,”
Sinn Fein councillor Patricia Logue said the break-in left the local community in a state of shock. “To think anyone would even contemplate stealing money being raised for life saving defibrillators is beyond belief.
“Schools are the centres of our communities and provide not just education for our children but also services for families, after schools projects, and outreach to the wider community.
“To target schools is therefore an attack on the entire community and is completely unacceptable
“I would appeal for anyone with even the slightest information on this incident to bring it forward to the police straight away,” she said.