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‘Brazen’ thieves break-in to Newport school

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Cuilmore NS in Newport was broken into last week.
Cuilmore NS in Newport was broken into last week.

‘Brazen’ thieves break-in to school near Newport


Edwin McGreal and Anton McNulty

Gardaí believe that the gang who burgled Cuilmore National School outside Newport were also involved in the attempted burglary of a school in Islandeady on the same night.
Three brand new laptops and a digital camera were taken in a robbery at Cuilmore NS in the early hours of Thursday morning and was the second break-in at the school in 12 months after an incident last November saw one laptop stolen.
On the same evening the alarm in Cloggernagh NS in Islandeady was activated at 2am in an attempted burglary and gardaí believe the same gang carried out the Cuilmore burglary. Ballyheane NS was also recently broken into and gardaí are calling on school board of managements to ensure valuables are locked away.
“Schools are being targeted more and more and while I know it is hard I would appeal to school management to lock away any valuables. If anybody notices anything suspicious around schools they should contact their local garda station,” said Inspector Joe McKenna.
The thief or thieves broke into Cuilmore national school on the main Castlebar road at some time between 1am and 9am on Friday morning. Insp McKenna asked the public if they may have noticed any vehicle between the two locations around those times to contact the gardaí.
Children at the three teacher school had to be sent home on Friday morning while the scene was preserved for forensic examination by Gardaí.
“We are sickened and disgusted by this,” school principal Tracy Hanley told The Mayo News. “Whoever did this clearly has no morals to go into a children’s school and take what they did. It is a very mean attack.
“We’re on the main road here as well and it was a very brazen attack to go in and do what they did. There are security lights there as well. We don’t have an alarm because you would think it couldn’t happen again but we’ll be making sure we have one now.” The perpetrators entered each classroom and also broke open a number of filing cabinets. The laptops stolen were all used with the school’s interactive whiteboards and had a lot of school programmes on them. Replacing them will be ‘a lot of hassle’ admitted Tracy Hanley. Friday morning was, she added, a frightening experience for the children.
“We had to send all the children home and a lot of them were upset because they saw the Garda car and couldn’t go into school and knew something was up. We couldn’t go in because it was a crime scene so we had to ring the parents and tell them to play down what happened with the children but this was a shock for all of us, you wouldn’t expect this to happen at a national school but, sadly, it has happened twice.”
Meanwhile, gardaí in Westport are investigating a daytime burglary of a house in Moyhastin, Westport where a sum of cash was taken from a bedroom. The incident occurred last Wednesday between 3pm and 6pm when the window of the bedroom was smashed. When the owners of the home arrived they did not notice the house was burgled until they went into the bedroom and noticed the broken window and the missing sum of cash. Anybody who may have noticed a suspicious vehicle in the area or suspicious activity is asked to contact the gardaí.
Anyone with any information on any of the crimes raised is asked to contact Westport Garda Station on 098 50230.