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Three acquitted of school vandalism

PUBLISHED: 22:03 16 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:12 03 March 2010

HEADTEACHER David Forrest today told how a spate of vandalism which saw 30 windows smashed has helped pupils appreciate their school more.

His words came after three people charged were charged with burglary and smashing a window at Orwell High School, Maidstone Road, Felixstowe, but were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

HEADTEACHER David Forrest today told how a spate of vandalism which saw 30 windows smashed has helped pupils appreciate their school more.

His words came after three people charged were charged with burglary and smashing a window at Orwell High School, Maidstone Road, Felixstowe, but were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

A weekend of vandalism at the school in September caused damage estimated at £4,000.

"We have been working better with the police, we have improved lighting around the school and youngsters who were being a little bit reckless with the use of the facilities have stopped doing it," said Mr Forrest.

"If I'm honest the majority of cases on school premises are resolved without anything happening to anybody.

"I'm not interested in severe punishment – but we do need to do some work with people."

Lloyd Taylor, 20, of Crossgate Field, Felixstowe and two youths aged 15 also from the sea side town were charged with burglary with intent after they were found by police officers inside the school on September 15 after the alarm was set off.

They appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates court where they were accused of smashing one of the windows leading in to the school to gain access to the gym and dining room.

But because no further evidence was found, especially as a partial finger print taken from broken glass did not match any of the defendants' prints, the magistrates said that there was no case to answer.

Also police did have the opportunity to send away hair and clothing samples of one of the youths for forensic testing to see if any particles of glass matching the window could be found.

But due to what one of the arresting officers, described in court as "operational costs" this option was rejected.

The three defendants denied smashing a window at the school, instead they claimed that the door had already been smashed and opened. They said they had walked in to the school to get some "munchies" from the vending machines and that they were on their way out of the building when they were arrested.

Michael Stephenson, defending Mr Taylor and one of the youths, said: "No reasonable tribunal on the evidence we have heard could convict."

Mr Stephenson said to the magistrates: "What the Crown is effectively asking you today is to be more sure than the police officers and the simple solution is that you can't be."

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