£55,000-worth of theft and damage at Plymouth schools
THIEVES have stolen £44,000 of property from Plymouth schools in just three years.
And vandals have caused more than £11,000 worth of damage to the city's education facilities.
Much of the vandalism has been caused by thugs trying to break into the buildings.
It includes smashed windows, broken doors and wrecked fencing.
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Among the property stolen were dozens of laptops, bikes and items kept in storage sheds.
But high-value lead was the most popular material pinched from schools. A whopping £18,000 worth of lead has been stripped from school roofs since 2010.
Plymouth City Council – who had to foot the mammoth bill on behalf of taxpayers – have hit back at the perpetrators.
A spokesman said: "Schools try to provide stimulating, exciting and creative environments for Plymouth's children to learn safely and, unfortunately, acts of vandalism and theft destroy and undermine these efforts.
"At a time when public funding is so tight, every penny wasted in this way is diverted from spending to improve the life chances of the next generation, it's ultimately children and the tax payer who pay the price for these crimes."
The figures, released to The Herald through freedom of information laws, may only reveal a fraction of the clean up bill.
The incidents, stretching back to the start of 2010, all cost more than £300 to put right – the council's insurance excess.
But the authority could have stumped up thousands more pounds on minor damage repairs.
Devon and Cornwall police say the yobs responsible are only damaging their own communities. A spokesman said: "Sadly many of our communities across Plymouth are victims of mindless vandalism.
"For the offenders it may seem like 'something to do for a laugh', but what they don't realise is that these actions can be very expensive to put right.
"Someone has to pay for this and, generally speaking, it's the very communities where these offenders live that suffer the most.
"Local people lose out and are deprived of facilities taken away by vandals."