Burglars targeting children’s centres around Rotherham

Burglars targeting children’s centres around Rotherham

By David Parker | 18/10/2019

Burglars targeting children’s centres around Rotherham
Davinia Leigh, deputy manager at Happy Kids

“HEARTLESS and unstoppable” burglars are targeting children’s centres across Rotherham - raiding one nursery three times in two weeks.

Happy Kids in Clifton suffered its third break-in on Sunday, which has left staff “disheartened” and disadvantaged children without vital food supplies.

Nurseries in Thrybergh, Clifton and Herringthorpe are also understood to have been burgled.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed it was investigating the spate of break-ins at children’s centres across Rotherham

A spokeswoman added: “Officers from the Rotherham Neighbourhood Teams are visiting those affected to carry out crime prevention assessments and offer prevention advice.”

Happy Kids was first burgled on September 30- and raided again just a week later.

Deputy manager Davinia Leigh said: “They have taken equipment we used every day for various reasons.

“They have even gone as low as emptying the freezer - they have just taken whatever they can carry.”

Thieves also stole CCTV equipment, Kindle tablets, an empty safe, a hand-held Hoover, a steriliser, nappies, wipes, cash and food.

Ms Leigh said the freezer food had been used to feed children who were on funded places.

“For some children, it might have been the only food they got that day,” she said.

“We used to use the tablets for singing activities and dancing.

“It all has an impact on the children’s development.”

Happy Kids has 12 staff and around 70 children aged between six months and five-years-old.

It has a toddler group for children up to two years old and a pre-school group for older children.

Ms Leigh said: “It’s disheartening more than anything, knowing that these people have been in and rifled through the children’s things.

“One day they just trashed everything and threw toys everywhere.

“It’s just nasty and heartless.

“I want to know if they care about what they have done.”

Ms Leigh said the police had been out to take photos and forensics from the scene and were investigating the incidents.

“They said other schools had been done in the area,” she said.

“It’s upsetting for us as a team and I just hope they get caught.”

Ms Leigh said it was the first time the nursery had been burgled since it opened more than five years ago.

The nursery’s joint owner, Debbie Scott, has called on South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, to do more to tackle the problem.

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