A SCOTS primary school was forced to close after thieves broke in and stole children’s dinner money.
Fort William Primary was forced to close yesterday after thieves broke in and left windows smashed and upturned playground planters.
The culprits also left the school’s lollipop stick smashed to pieces.
The incident shocked staff and pupils with a nine-year-old girl saying that she was left “scared” by what happened.
Head teacher Sue Commander arrived at the primary at 6.50am to discover the school had been broken into.
The culprits also let off a fire extinguisher before dumping it in the playground.
Parents were called about 8am to be told the 30-pupil school, in Achintore Road, was being treated as a crime scene and would be closed for the day.
Others arrived for class to be turned away at the gates by police officers carrying out forensic examinations.
Stephanie Watchman, whose two children, Emma, nine, and Ryan, eight, attend the school, was appalled by the vandal attack.
She said: “I just can’t see the point of it. It’s a lovely little school. The children were very disappointed about not being able to go to school.
“They’re aware of things like vandalism and stealing but they can’t understand why people would do it to their school. They keep asking, ‘Why have these people done this?’”
Emma, who is in primary six, added: “We were all ready to go and our head teacher rang up and told us not to come in because of the vandalism. It made me a bit scared.”
It emerged that the raiders, who damaged the canteen, staff room and head teacher’s office, had left a batch of new computers untouched.
But they stole £40 of dinner money and the cost of repairing the damage is expected to top £1,000.
Northern Constabulary has now appealed for help in tracing the criminals.
The incident took place between 7pm on Wednesday and 7am yesterday.
Broken shards of the lollipop stick were strewn on the ground.
Police believe the raiders left along Lundavra Road.
The area commander for Lochaber, acting Inspector Jenny Fraser, said: “This was a wanton act of vandalism and the callous theft of money belonging to young schoolchildren.”
Bill Fernie, chairman of Highland Council’s education committee, said: “It’s very disappointing that something like this happens. This is not a common occurrence in Highland.”