Burglaries, arsons and crime - Wigan schools under attack

Arsonists strike at Gilded Hollins Community Primary School, Leigh - just one of the countless incidents of crimes against our schools
Arsonists strike at Gilded Hollins Community Primary School, Leigh - just one of the countless incidents of crimes against our schools

WIGAN schools are targeted by thieves and arsonists every three days, startling new figures reveal.

For each of the last four years, more than 100 incidents of criminal damage, burglary and theft have been recorded on school grounds.

Our neighbourhood policing teams work with schools to identify threats from all crime including anti-social behaviour so that they can be targeted as soon as possible and so that we can continue to support the schools and communities across Wigan

Chief Inspector Stuart Wrudd

But Wigan police chiefs told the Evening Post the figures are not that high compared with other areas of Greater Manchester.

The offences include instances where school buildings or vehicles parked within the grounds have been hit by burglaries and thefts. Or if property has been damaged or vandalised.

There were also 18 occasions when schools were hit by arsonists, including the incident at Gilded Hollins Community Primary School which had its summerhouse torched in a senseless attack last year.

Another high frequency offence was the theft of pedal cycles, which happened on 39 occasions. Ch Insp Stuart Wrudd, of Wigan Police, said: “There are approximately 140 schools and colleges across the borough without counting nurseries.

“The number of offences is one of the lowest of the 11 divisions in Greater Manchester.

“However we are far from complacent. We have analysts who work daily with the police and the local authority to identify any series of crimes or repeat victims and locations, for example.

“Our neighbourhood policing teams work with schools to identify threats from all crime including anti-social behaviour so that they can be targeted as soon as possible and so that we can continue to support the schools and communities across Wigan.”

The figures, released by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) through a Freedom of Information request, show a total of 444 offences between 2011 and 2014.

The force has revised the total, though, stating there has been 375 separate incidents across the borough’s 140 primary and secondary schools.

The discrepancy is thought to have been due to some incidents where multiple offences occurred. Although both reveal that the borough’s primary and secondary schools as well as colleges are targeted once every three to four days on average.

The figures also include four incidents where thefts by school employees were recorded.