Schools outrage at vandalism during Easter holidays

St Marys primary School, Bonnyrigg.
St Marys primary School, Bonnyrigg.

Two primary schools in Bonnyrigg targeted by vandals during the Easter holiday have been left with a repair bill for thousands of pounds.

Midlothian Council has now established that vandals caused £18,000 of damage to Hawthornden and St Mary’s Primary Schools in Bonnyrigg in recent weeks.

Hawthornden Primary School in Bonnyrigg

Hawthornden Primary School in Bonnyrigg

Eighty skylights and 42 double-glazed windows were smashed at Hawthornden alone on April 7. And nine windows were smashed at St Mary’s on April 3.

Bonnyrigg and Lasswade Community Council chairman Darius Namdaran was taken aback by the scale of the vandalism.

He said: “It’s very unusual. I have not seen it on that kind of scale here. It’s often much more minor stuff.

“But that’s almost systematic smashing, which is very out of the ordinary.

“We are really surprised at the scale of the damage – it’s unusual for Bonnyrigg.

“It’s not just a random act of vandalism. There has got to be more to it, and it makes me wonder why.

“Why would you spend so long systematically smashing so many windows?”

Inspector John Dryden added: “This is an appalling attack on the primary schools and the cost of the repair will ultimately come from Midlothian Council’s budget – money that would be better used for vital services to the community.

“It would have taken a significant period of time for the vandals to smash 122 windows and the noise alone must have attracted attention. I am confident that the identity of those responsible is now known to members of the community and I would ask anyone with any information to contact us.

“I would also ask parents and guardians to assist in preventing further incidents by ensuring they know where their children are and what they are doing when out and about.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman speaking before pupils returned from their Easter holidays added: “It is not just the financial cost to the council, but the emotional cost to our school community.

“Our property services staff have responded quickly to instigate a clean-up operation to ensure that none of the broken glass injures children or staff on their return after the Easter break. However, until staff return we don’t have the opportunity to assess the damage to resources within the school that may be contaminated with debris from the vandalism.”

Anyone with information that can assist this inquiry is asked to contact police officers on 101 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.