Complex needs kids suffer as thieves target school bus during break-in

The Hall School in Old Catton has currently lost both of its buses used for trips.

The Hall School in Old Catton has currently lost both of its buses used for trips. Pictured inset is deputy headteacher Will Gant - Credit: Will Gant

Frustrated children with complex needs are unable to go on their much-anticipated jaunts after thieves targeted their school minibus.

Staff at the specialist Hall School in Old Catton have handed CCTV footage to police showing two people breaking into the St Faith's Road site.

This took place during the early hours of Friday, April 29.

After cutting a hole in the fence, the thieves stole a catalytic converter from the school's minibus. 

This came just after the school's other 20-year-old bus had packed in, meaning the children have been left without their regular swimming trips and other excursions. 

The quote for the repair to the minibus was £3,500 which is being covered through insurance. 

Hall School deputy headteacher, Will Gant, said: "People steal things from different places all the time but to break into a special school and steal from complex special needs children is very disturbing. 

Will Gant, deputy headteacher at Hall School in Old Catton 

Will Gant, deputy headteacher at Hall School in Old Catton - Credit: Contributed

"The kids have had to miss out on lots of trips which is frustrating for them as it is part of their routine. 

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"The disruption can be difficult to cope with. The bus ride is an experience in itself for them.

"Staff have had to work hard to manage that and try to keep their minds off it." 

Suspicions were aroused among staff on the morning of Friday, April 29 when they noticed a padlock missing from the gate.

Youngsters from Hall School, Old Catton take part in the annual sports day supported by Broadland Di

Youngsters from Hall School, Old Catton take part in the annual sports day supported by Broadland District Council.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

It was only when a staff member tried to drive a busload of kids out on a trip when the damage became apparent as the exhaust pipe scraped along the floor.

The excursion had to be abandoned.

The Hall School in Old Catton has currently lost both its buses used for trips

The Hall School in Old Catton has currently lost both its buses used for trips - Credit: Will Gant

It comes after wheels have been stolen from the school's buses in the past.

Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School.

Wheels were stolen from the minibuses at the Hall School in Old Catton. Pic: The Hall School. - Credit: The Hall School

Richard Potter (Cons), district councillor for Old Catton, said: "It saddens me each time I hear about incidents of theft and vandalism in this incredible ward. 

"What makes this even worse is that somebody would do this to Hall School who use their vehicles to enrich the lives of their pupils, many of whom have significant and complex needs. 

Richard Potter, district councillor for Old Catton 

Richard Potter, district councillor for Old Catton - Credit: Richard Potter

"I will of course liaise with the local police and would urge anyone with any information to contact them on 101." 

Norfolk Police has been contacted for comment.