Appeal after vandals damage school pool

PUBLISHED: 09:42 22 September 2014 | UPDATED: 09:42 22 September 2014

Sad faces from these year five children at St Peters school in Budleigh Salterton where vandals have damaged the school swimming pool. Ref exb 5522-38-14SH Picture: Simon Horn

Sad faces from these year five children at St Peters school in Budleigh Salterton where vandals have damaged the school swimming pool. Ref exb 5522-38-14SH Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

Heartless vandals have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the St Peter's School swimming pool, which could force the much-loved community facility to close.

The act of ‘mindless vandalism’ occurred between August 11 and August 13.

Damage to the bottom of the pool is causing it to leak, and headteacher Steve Hitchcock says there may be no option but to shut it.

Mr Hitchcock said: “If the insurance company aren’t able to pay out in the next week we will have to shut the pool, as it’s not sustainable.

“We don’t want to do that. So many children have lessons here, and community groups. It would be a real tragedy.”

The culprits are thought to have broken in wanting to swim, only to realise they couldn’t as it was being maintained, and the water had added chlorine.

Mr Hitchcock said: “We think when they noticed that they decided to trash the place instead, throwing everything around. They pulled the cover back and chucked the pool ladder in, which ripped the liner on the floor of the pool, so it’s now leaking.”

The damage would cost around £3,000 to fix, which the school has no budget for. There has been a fundraising campaign for a new cover, but the school is reluctant to divert this money.

Mr Hitchcock said: “We don’t want to take money from the [cover] fund, but we have to look at our options. We can’t afford that kind of money.

“We are one of the only schools that still have our own swimming pool. We use it a lot and other schools use it a lot. It would be devastating to have it shut.”

PCSO Chantalle Major said: “This was mindless vandalism. The pool is a vital resource to the children, as [swimming] is such an important skill to have in a coastal town.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101, quoting crime number CR/098385/14, or email chantalle.major@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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