Community rallies after nursery raid

Community rallies after nursery raid

18 January 2012 - by CIARA COLHOUN

A DRUMAROAD nursery school teacher has thanked the local community for its backing after the school was targeted by oil thieves at the weekend.

Thieves destroyed the heating system at Kids’ Kabin overnight on Saturday, stealing hundreds of litres of oil and cutting pipes leading into the school. They also broke the cap on the oil tank during the incident and also attempted to gain access to the school and broke a number of neighbouring fences.

The thieves unsuccessfully tried to steal oil from St. Francis’ Primary School nearby but were unable to access their tank.

Nursery teacher Donna Lynch said she was shocked by the “senselessness” of the incident and appalled she was forced to close the school for several days pending repairs.

Thirty nine children currently attend two separate sessions hosted in the school and Mrs. Lynch said the children and their parents had been inconvenienced by the closure.

She said the local community had been “outstanding” in its support and had alerted her to the incident at the weekend.

“Drumaroad is very much a community place and we are a cross-community playgroup,” she said.

“I was at the school the day after the incident and so many people came to offer their support.

“Everybody is taken aback by this senseless act of vandalism. To steal oil is bad enough, but to damage the tanks and pipes is of no value to them.

“Thankfully, the community, local businesses and residents have been fabulous. Local people all agree that this is not acceptable behaviour in our area.”

Mrs. Lynch said she would host an emergency meeting of the school to determine the way forward.

She said she was hopeful that offers of support from the public would be forthcoming and asked anyone who could help with repairs or donations to telephone her on 07541 740 282.

“We have a committee so we are going to have to hold an emergency meeting this week to see what can be done. We could put a fence around the tank, but all someone would have to do is bring a saw and that would be it again.”

Mrs. Lynch added that the impact of the nursery’s closure was felt beyond Drumaroad.

“We have children who come to us from Ballynahinch and Spa,” she said.

“This does not just affect the immediate community, it affects families.”