Bid to protect rural schools from thieves

RURAL dwellers have been urged to help protect schools from thieves.

Larne councillors issued the appeal after the North Eastern Education Board announced recently that small primary schools in the countryside had been targeted for heating oil and metals.

Ald Roy Beggs, who represents the council on NEELB, referred to recent fuel thefts from schools in the Larne area, stressing that each represented a significant loss. He explained: “The cost of fuel for heating and hot water throughout the year is a large part of any school’s budget.”

By highlighting the issue, the education authority hoped to alert rural dwellers to the possibility that their local school might be targeted and that they should report any suspicious activity to the police, said Ald Beggs, who expressed the hope that “the number of Neighbourhood Watch groups that are being formed will help to prevent these crimes”.

Cllr Gregg McKeen urged the PSNI to do everything possible to keep rural schools under observation, while Cllr John Mathews asked for an update on legislation relating to checks by scrap metal merchants as to the source of materials offered to them.