80m of lead stolen from Claudy school

St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s College in Claudy has become the latest local school to be targeted by metal thieves.

In recent weeks several schools in Derry have fallen victim to rampaging lead thieves who police believe are selling the metal on to make quick cash.

Around 80 metres of lead was stolen from the roof of St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s College on Main Street in Claudy sometime between 3.30pm last Friday and 3.30pm on Monday. The school building sustained water damage as a result of the theft.

Police investigating the theft are appealing for anyone who saw the occupants and movements of a transit van seen parked at the school gates from 11am on the Saturday until Sunday afternoon to come forward.

SDLP Derry City Councillor Brenda Stevenson has condemned the theft.

She said: “It is absolutely sickening that anyone would commit an act like this at a school which serves the local community so well

“It is particularly appalling that this could be done in the middle of an economic crisis which is threatening all our public services and our schools in particular.

“With the Education minister threatening huge cuts to his budget, now is the time for communities to be supporting each other and standing up for our schools, not for a tiny minority to seek to illegally profit from others.

“I would urge anyone with information on the theft to pass it to the authorities,” she added.

Foyle Crime Prevention Officer Mandy McCrea told the ‘Journal’ that police are cracking down on metal thieves. “Contrary to belief, metal thefts are not victimless crimes. Schools in particular have been targeted in the last number of months meaning money is being spent on repairs instead of education and improving communities.

“Police are working closely with other agencies to tackle the issue of metal thefts head on and provide reassurance to the public that steps are being taken to protect homes and other properties.”

Foyle Neighbourhood Policing Teams are encouraging residents living near schools to keep a close eye on those properties, especially during weekends and holiday periods. Officers are urging anyone who notices anything out of the ordinary to call them on 0845 600 8000 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.