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School under siege from vandals

PUBLISHED: 19:49 18 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

UNDER a four-day attack by vandals and youths breaking in, the headmaster of a Felixstowe school has been left sickened with a £4,000 damage bill.

Drug and drink fuelled vandals broke around 30 windows at Orwell High school and a picnic bench was also smashed up.

a four-day attack by vandals at a Suffolk school has left the headmaster sickened and landed with a £4,000 damage bill.

Drug and drink-fuelled vandals broke around 30 windows at Orwell High school in Felixstowe and a picnic bench was also smashed up.

Three youths broke into the school before they were caught and arrested.

Current and ex-pupils are suspected of some of the damage prompting headteacher David Forrest to write letters to parents making them aware of his concerns.

"I'm absolutely livid. It sickens me," said Mr Forrest. "We had a horrible weekend. Lots of people use [the grounds] as a short cut to get to one part of the town to another and we are trying to stop that, but people were hanging about like they do in recreation areas.

"There is no real harm in students using the site and that's what the majority of people who were here did, but it's clear that there was drinking and drug-taking happening. Our only response is that we will continue to warn kids not to be on site."

The trouble started on Thursday night when a picnic bench in the school grounds in Maidstone Road was smashed up. Then on Friday night there was a report of around 50 youths loitering in the school grounds.

The next night between 25 and 30 windows were smashed amid evidence that a number of people had been smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol.

On Sunday morning a burglar alarm alerted caretakers to a break in at the school. They caught three youths who had broken some more windows to get in to the school.

Police were called and two 15-year-old boys and a 19-year-old man were arrested and have been released on bail until October 29.

A spokeswoman for the police said they were unsure as to whether the three youths had intended to steal anything.

Mr Forrest said that one of the 15-year-olds is a current pupil and the 19-year-old an ex-pupil. The other teenager was said to be from another school.

Mr Forrest has launched an investigation among pupils and told them they are not allowed in the school grounds after school hours without permission.

Anyone with information concerning the vandalism should contact Pc Peter Stewart on 01473 613500.

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