Schools and parents rallied round today to get youngsters into the classrooms after a fleet of coaches was kept off the road by thieves who siphoned £7,000-worth of fuel.

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More than 600 schoolchildren were unable to catch coaches run by People Movers at Felthorpe after drivers arrived at work to find the tank locks broken and their vehicles starved of fuel after an overnight break-in.

With eight coaches affected, it meant the drivers were unable to embark on the morning school run. The incident hit three coaches to Aylsham High, one to Broadland High, one to Buxton Primary, two to Framingham Earl High and one to Hobart High at Loddon.

Schools sent emergency text messages and emails to parents, who had to find a plan B to get their youngsters into the classrooms.

Jane Matthews, from Broadland High School at Hoveton, said: “We had 70 of our students stranded on the side of the road in various villages but as soon as we heard the news our brilliant site team got in our minibuses and did several trips in and around Coltishall, Badersfield, Scottow and Tunstead to collect our students and bring them to school.”

Nicola Furneaux, headteacher at Framingham Earl High, said 111 children from Rocklands and Surlingham had been affected.

She said: “Brilliantly, they have all got in except for six children. Nearly all were in by 9am. We are really grateful to our parents for being so organised and committed.”

At Hobart High School, where about 50 youngsters were affected, a spokesman said “some made it, but others didn’t”.

Mark Harvey, managing director of People Movers, which he set up with one minibus in 1999 with his wife Julie, said he was “devastated” by the incident.

He said: “We came in this morning and the whole fleet had been emptied of fuel. It’s worth about £7,000 in all, and it meant we couldn’t get the fleet moving.

“We would like to apologise to all the parents and children who have been affected. There’s nothing we could do about it.”

Mr Harvey said he was waiting for police scenes of crime officers to arrive at the scene to gather evidence and seek to track down the thieves.

He added: “We will fight back, and we expect to be out this afternoon to do the school pick-ups. There’s no way we are going to let these people beat us.”

Mr Harvey said he had been able to run one unaffected bus to Taverham High.

● Were you affected by the lack of buses this morning? Call Steve Downes on 01263 513920 or email steve.downes@archant.co.uk

25 comments

  • I wonder how many of them got on their bikes to get to school? Schools are letting down their pupils by not promoting cycling enough! Cycling is a valuable life skill - like swimming and that is part of the curriculum .. when will cycling be included? With the global oil reserves depleated .. how will they be commuting when Mum & Dads taxi can no longer get fuel?

    Report this comment

    Mark Elmy

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • Mark Harvey. You have been smelling the fumes if you believe coaches carry 900 litres - Firstly the buses involved were mini buses, and secondly the buses i have worked on for 8 years (56 & 72 seaters) DO NOT have 900 litre tanks. Someones on a fiddle and anyone who believes anything else is simply mad

    Report this comment

    pubmandave

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • City Boy is exactly right , we all know who it was .

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • Turning the streetlights back on may help in some cases, these chaps like the cover of darkness...be it cash machines, heating oil, diesel, metal theft and run of the mill burgling.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • its not just the sort who live in caravans you often see in the papers people who are from towns n villages

    Report this comment

    Mïçhãēl Ŵébstèr

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • Sorry to correct you but I don't think you have any understanding of coaches these a built from the factory with 900 litre fuel tanks think that equates to 900x8_ 6400 at the cost of £143.00! Per litre somewhere in the region of £9000.00 just as we'll we didn't loose it all thanks for your concern

    Report this comment

    Mark Harvey

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Hmm...Now who would do such a thing as steal fuel which was diesel too? You & I know but bet they don't get caught never do!

    Report this comment

    City Boy

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • This is becoming so common, diesel from vehicles and heating oil in rural areas. No one seems to get caught and I wonder if that is because people feel silly troubling the Police if they see strange vehicles about at night. I always ring in if I see anyone I don't know moving around our area of North Norfolk after dark and this has led to one lot of oil thieves being caught red handed. The Police told me that people calling in is essential and that they would rather check a legitimate person out than miss someone commiting crime.

    Report this comment

    Vulpes

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • I just realised I said my bit twice. Soz. LOL. I think I got that right.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • I can undrstand this action by parents-when my children were young I used to move heaven and earth to get them to school, just to have a bit of peace for a few hours!

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • I can understand the parents actions in this matter, I remember when my children were at school I would have done anything to get them there, just for a bit of peace and quiet for a few hours!

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • city boy, thanks ever so much for your big fat clues .

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • mad brew, please expand????

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • .....our brilliant site team got in our minibuses and did several trips in and around Coltishall, Badersfield, Scottow and Tunstead to collect our students and bring them to school.....Not that brilliant is it?......

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • Yes, city boy and if they do get caught they will be released on bail, they will then move on and never appear in court for sentence. They are practically outside the law.

    Report this comment

    Heading for Squalor

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • @City Boy. I don't know so please tell me......

    Report this comment

    Wandering Crab

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • ......“Brilliantly, they have all got in except for six children.....why didn't you go and pick them up lazy lady, isn't it your responsibility?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • No Mad Brewer not really, it is realist .Who has the wherewithal to cart and conceal the diesel from the tanks of umpteen coaches? it is of course wrong to make generalisations but those who live in rural areas recognise some of the names and addresses when there are convictions and make their own minds up. Rural crime is a plague, it costs businesses a lot of money in prevention and picking up the pieces and costs those who live in isolated places their peace of mind. The same obviously applies to urban residents but it is not so nice knowing the nearest patrol car could be fifteen or more miles away at night.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • I heard the police are not allowed to visit the suspects at home too often City Boy in case the Human Rights lawyers get on the case-only when investigating something like heroin dealing when the lawyers have a harder job arguing persecution in case they are left with egg on their faces. Don't know how true it is.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • Where does it say £10.30 per child Willy? It says the fleet had £7000 worth of fuel stolen, not that its the cost of driving 600 children to school. This is the problem, thieves will steal anything valuable no matter the effect it has on others.

    Report this comment

    Piranha24

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • Whilst Im sorry the children couldnt get to school, could the coach company explain how you get £7000 worth of fuel in 8 vehicles ?? IF they were all full to the brim, and carried the legal limit of 20 gallons, that equates to 160 gallons. 160 x £7 per gal. does not equal 7k Its not rocket science ???????

    Report this comment

    pubmandave

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

  • ? £10.30 per child , might as well all get a taxi each

    Report this comment

    billythebookie

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • Police are usually pretty hot on this sort of thing, in fairness. I was in Yarmouth today and I witnessed a white van being driven at reckless speed through a deep kerbside puddle, drenching several pedestrians. I was going to ring the Constabulary but there was no need, they were on the case. It was a POLICE VAN!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • This is a fascist site.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • I can undrstand this action by parents-when my children were young I used to move heaven and earth to get them to school, just to have a bit of peace for a few hours!

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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