Felixstowe: Older adults deny damaging former Orwell High School

Orwell HIgh School - scene of disturbances during an open evening Orwell HIgh School - scene of disturbances during an open evening

Richard Cornwell richard.cornwell@archant.co.uk
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
6:36 PM

A man quizzed by police over damage to a school claims it was younger people causing the trouble, not older former students.

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Alan Fenn was spoken to by officers after his name was found scrawled on a wall at the old Orwell High School in Felixstowe following an evening for people to have a last look round the building, which is due to be demolished this summer.

Mr Fenn, 47, said he had not caused the graffiti – and had supplied police with samples of his handwriting.

Police have also interviewed two women in connection with the damage at the school in Maidstone Road, which included writing and lewd pictures on walls of stairwells, toilets, classrooms and corridors.

Plaster was pulled from walls in a corridor, toilets were blocked with toilet paper and attempts made to flood the lavatories.

Fire alarms set were off and people were smoking in the toilets. The building had to be evacuated.

Mr Fenn, who was a student at the school from 1977 to 1982, witnessed some of the damage being caused but he said the group of people he was with had not taken part in any of the incidents.

He said: “I was in the toilets with a group of friends having photographs taken while making out that we were smoking cigarettes.

“Then a group of youngsters aged about 19 and 20 came in trying to kick down the partition door, and started blocking the loos with paper to flood the cubicles.

“We told them to stop, but they said they were from Deben and it wasn’t their school. Deben and Orwell had always been at each other’s throats.

“We were very shocked when it was said that people in their 40s and 50s were causing damage – it was people in their teens and 20s.”

He said the group he was with were “completely under the impression” that the school was no longer in use.

He said: “No-one told us that Felixstowe Academy was still using it – why on earth did they hold such an evening before the school closed?”

Mr Fenn said he was appalled when he saw his name on a wall.

He said: “I was a bit of a joker and jester at school and I thought it was a bit of 
pay-back to be honest – someone writing my name for something that happened 30 years ago.

“The police asked me to give samples of my 
handwriting so they could compare the graffiti with how I sign my name.

“We didn’t go along to that evening to cause trouble.

“We just wanted to catch up with old friends and have a look round at the old place again.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Inquiries are 
continuing and a number of other people will be 
interviewed in due course as the investigation into what happened continues.”

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