Playground vandalism issue in Mayfield left in the dark

Parents and children outside the school gates at Mayfield Campus.
Parents and children outside the school gates at Mayfield Campus.

Two parent councils have joined forces to demand action to fight continuing vandalism at the campus their schools share in Mayfield.

Parents at Mayfield Primary and St Luke’s RC Primary are angry at the lack of lighting and security cameras on the joint Mayfield Campus. Mayfield Primary has suffered many broken windows, vandalism and a broken skylight above the dining hall.

While at St Luke’s teachers have been intimidated by youths while leaving the school, a door was kicked in, planters, wigwams, the fence and skylights have been damaged, and a wheelie bin was set on fire, all in 2017 alone.

Mayfield Nursery has also suffered damage to outdoor equipment and an attempted break-in at Christmas.

And both parent councils revealed that the janitor regularly picks up needles and empty glass bottles from the campus when he starts work on Monday mornings.

Heather McBroom, chairwoman of Mayfield Primary School Parent Council, praised the police but is calling on the council to improve security.

She said: “Obviously because there is a lack of security on the campus these things will happen. With a lack of lighting they can sit and do what they do with nobody any the wiser.

“The police have been really good, doing patrols every night. These are new community officers that have come in within the last six months. They have been really proactive but when things are reported they don’t have evidence from CCTV or anything like that.

“The CCTV cameras there are just for show and the kids have obviously realised this.

“We hope that the council listens to us. I understand it can’t stop it completely but at least if we put in as many deterrents as we can it will reduce the things that are happening in the campus.

“The main thing is that the kids are safe when at school.”

The gate to the campus was closed a year ago outside school times but reopened after complaints from the local community about using the grounds as a shortcut.

Elaine Wilson, St Luke’s Primary School Parent Council chairwoman, spoke of the frustration the lack of security at the school causes her group: “We have had stuff vandalised, wigwams damaged, bins set on fire. It’s just ridiculous.

“We have been trying to raise money to get in planters to teach the kids to grow vegetables but we can’t do that as they would just get vandalised. It’s such a shame.

“The kids are gutted by the vandalism. They asked for these things we fundraise for and it’s all getting broken. It’s just heartbreaking.

“We have worked really hard as a parent council raising money to have play equipment for the children. When there is no lighting or cameras people are going to go into the school grounds and that equipment, worth thousands of pounds, is not safe.

“We have written to the council about it. We want our schools to be as safe as a brand new school.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “We’re currently obtaining quotes for enhanced CCTV and additional lighting for the campus. It is expected that installation work will commence once appropriate subcontractors and suppliers are appointed during April 2017.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “The Dalkeith community team is aware of the issues relating to vandalism at Mayfield and St Luke’s Primary School campus and has stepped up foot patrols of the area.

“Officers are also engaging with the school, local elected officials and the parent council to make security recommendations and work with them to resolve the issues.”