Vandals proving costly for schools
SCHOOLS in Gympie and its surrounds have been the target of vandals and thieves at an alarmingly high rate, with the latest incident costing $2500 in damage repairs.
The spike in break and enter and wilful damage offences prompted Gympie police to introduce special patrols of schools in January.
This has reduced the number of incidents, but last week Jones Hill school was hit by vandals who broke into a classroom and splattered red paint all over the floor.
Officer-in-charge of Gympie police Senior Sergeant Graeme Reeves yesterday visited the primary school and unofficially launched a campaign, being spear-headed by the Adopt-A-Cop program.
The program aims to encourage members of the public and residents living around schools to be on the lookout for people lurking in or around school property.
The state's Department of Education and Training has identified 17 incidents of "intentional damage" at six schools in the Gympie area from November 2011 to February 2012.
These schools included James Nash High and Gympie Central, Monkland, One Mile, Two Mile and Jones Hill state schools, with the total damage costing approximately $14,000 to repair.
The first incident at Jones Hill was in early December and involved damage to three doors, a window was smashed and a camera and laptop were stolen.
Recent damage took four staff members more than three hours to clean and carpet will need to be replaced.
Snr Sgt Reeves asked people to keep an eye out for red paint on shoes and to contact the Gympie police station on 5480 1111 with any info that could help with investigations.