July 1, 2008

Thief Stole School Laptops

A SCHOOL burglar has been ordered to pay compensation after a computer raid.

Drunken Craig Smith smashed his way into St Joseph's RC Primary in Blaydon, Gateshead, to pay off a debt.

He broke fire doors to two classrooms, causing pounds 600 damage, and legged it with two laptops worth pounds 900 each.

The laptops, which contained children's work, were handed over to a man he owed money to and were never recovered.

But the 27-year-old thief was caught after police traced his DNA.

At Gateshead Magistrates, Smith, of Todds Nook, Westgate Road, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to burglary and breaching two conditional discharges.

JPs gave him a 12 month community order, ordered him to do 120 hours' unpaid work and pay the school pounds 250 compensation.

The theft on April 18 was one of two blows suffered by the school over the Easter holidays.

In a separate incident, thieves stripped all the lead from the roof of the building in Croftdale Road and the school had to pay pounds 2,000 to replace the lead with a cheaper alternative.

Headteacher James Hannah said: "It was not a very good Easter for us. It was very costly and upsetting for the children. We had to replace the computers, repair the fire doors and replace the lead in the roof."

Police caught Smith after he cut himself on a connector of one of the laptops and police traced him by DNA.

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