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Smashed windows, graffiti, and lead stolen from roofs: £130k bill for vandalism in Sandwell schools

Sandwell | News | Published:

Windows smashed, graffiti daubed on walls and lead stolen from roofs - just some of the mindless vandalism at Sandwell's schools which has cost tens of thousands of pounds to fix.

Cash-strapped Sandwell Council has had to spend more than £130,000 in the past three school years repairing damage caused by vandals, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The cost of fixing the harm caused by yobs ranges from £10.78 for a single window repair to a whopping £36,551.02 to mend a roof leak caused by lead theft - with a total cost of £133,213.90 since 2012-13.

Councillors have been united in their criticism of those who carried out the vandalism, labelling it 'appalling' and 'disgusting'.

It is money which could have been better spent improving the education of children in the borough, according to Councillor Simon Hackett.

Councillor Hackett, cabinet member for children's services, said: "We are appalled at the cost of vandalism at our schools and would urge members of the public to report any suspicious actions around our buildings to the police.

"The money we have to spend repairing vandalism damage is cash we could use much better to further improve the education of our children.

"We do support schools in making their grounds and buildings secure to prevent vandalism from happening and when it does occur work alongside the school to take immediate action to secure buildings."

In 2012-13, the cancel was forced to pay out £22,711.12, with the figure jumping to £82,732.83 in 2013-14 and then £27,769.95 in 2014-15.

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The FOI request asked the authority the total cost of any repairs/cleaning for vandalism in 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 in maintained schools in Sandwell.

Damage to a fire alarm cable led to the biggest repair cost in 2012-13, of £4,904.58, while the roof leak repair costing £36,551.02 was the most expensive act of vandalism to fix in 2013-14.

In 2014-15, the authority had to pay £3,186.30 to restore vandalised brickwork.

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, who sits on the authority's Children's Services and Education Scrutiny Board, blasted the vandals' actions as 'disgusting'.

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"This is a disgrace, I'm slightly in shock at that amount.

"£130,000 is a lot of money and that could have gone to a much better use in the education system for the children of Sandwell.

"Vandalism like this is unacceptable behaviour and it's absolutely disgusting.

"I'm shocked and disappointed by it."

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