Thieves hit Leeds school on eve of visit by police

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Cable thieves struck at a Leeds primary school building site just hours before a police officer was due to speak to pupils about respect.

West Yorkshire Police were called to Oulton Primary School, in Green Lea, Oulton, on Wednesday at 8.30pm after thieves were spotted on the school’s building site.

The school is in the midst of a multi-million pound development that will yield new sports facilities and a state-of-the-art building. The stolen equipment is believed to have been taken from the development site.

Police seized a hedge trimmer and a measure of electric cable from the men.

Headteacher Joanne Smithson said: “It’s heartbreaking. They might have come to this school and their children might come to this school in the future. They shouldn’t be doing this here and turning on the community.”

Oulton Primary School’s new classrooms were completed in April last year but the school’s new hall, nursery facilities and offices should be complete this summer.

The incident came the day before Rothwell neighbourhood policing team’s community support officer Tracy Whiteley visited the school to talk to Year Five and Six students about respect.

Ms Smithson said: “The children have a good relationship with police, they did listen and take notice of what she said but unfortunately the theft did highlight what she was saying.”

She said that thieves struck at the school two weeks ago and now they have a security guard on site 24 hours a day.

A Woodlesford and Oulton Action Group spokeswoman said: “These people know what the school means to people – it’s not a good thing. It’s not a good example for the children but the police are acting really quickly”

A police spokeswoman said that one man, aged 22, and two other men, both 23, were arrested and charged with the offences on Wednesday.

She said the men are due to appear at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on April 18.

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