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30 Sept 2022

County Derry primary school damaged in weekend vandalism

A number of items damaged in the incident will have to be replaced.

County Derry primary school damaged in weekend vandalism

A broken window at Castledawson Primary School.

A County Derry primary school has appealed for members of the public to contact the police with information after damage was caused to an outdoor play area over the weekend.

Castledawson Pimary School, on the village's Main Street, was targeted after vandals gained entry to the school's outdoor play area before damaging equipment.

School principal Marina McCusker appealed for local people to keep an eye out for any further incidents of anti-social behaviour in the area.

“We are very disappointed to see the destruction done to our outdoor play area which is an area created for children by our parents a few years ago and an area that the children get so much enjoyment from," she said.

"It’s so disappointing just one week before they start school that this has happened which has now resulted in items having to be replaced as well as the clean up of damaged areas.

"It’s not an option that children would return to school to this mess so already a clean up is underway as well as sourcing of replacement items.

"The support of our parents and community members has been overwhelming and we thank them so much. It has been so been so encouraging to know they are completely behind us. 

"We thank those who have already come forward with information and appeal to others to please be vigilant and keep an eye out for any anti-social behaviour or trespassers in the future."

A football net after the incident.

Local DUP councillor for Moyola, Anne Forde, slammed those responsible for the vandalism.

“This type of incident is totally reprehensible. I have spoken to local PSNI and my colleague Keith Buchanan MLA has also contacted the Principal of the school to offer support,” she said.

“Sgt. Robinson from Magherafelt Neighbourhood Policing team has assured me that he will be increasing patrols in the area, make direct contact with the school and discuss the matter with the Crime Prevention Team.”

DUP Mid Ulster MLA Keith Buchanan encouraged parents to be vigilant about where their children are going.

“With the new school term about to commence this is not what the school needs,” he said.

“I would urge parents to ensure they know where their children and young people are and also ensure they know what they are doing.

“Mindless vandalism is not acceptable and I would urge anyone with information regarding this incident to contact PSNI.”

Many of the items damaged will have to be replaced.

Police have confirmed they are currently making enquiries about the incident.

“Police received a report of criminal damage at school premises in the Main Street area of Castledawson on Sunday August 22,” said a PSNI spokesperson.

“It was reported at around 4:45pm that damage had been caused to a school playground and a window smashed. The incident is believed to have taken place sometime over the weekend.

“Enquiries are currently ongoing and anyone with information about this incident or who may be able to help with the investigation, is asked to call police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference number 1380 22/08/21.

“To submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/.

“You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/.”

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