'Why would anyone want to steal from children?' Knottingley school devastated after break-in
A Knottingley school has been left absolutely devastated after thieves broke in and stole all of the children's bikes and trikes.
Knottingley St Botolph's Cof E Academy is just about ready to unveil its new outdoor area - complete with new bike track - but have been left with no equipment for children to enjoy after thieves broke in at the weekend.
With work on the new £700,000 early years building along with the demolition of the old nursery, school equipment such as the bikes were being stored in a container.
Interim Head, Ian Goddard, said: "We are all just devastated.
"We came into school on Monday and the site manager told us the container had been broken into over the weekend.
"The door was open and 18 bikes and trikes had been stolen."
Mr Goddard said the school has working hard and eagerly awaiting the finish of the new outdoor area, which includes the new bike track, but now have no bikes for the children to use.
"It hasn't helped that just a few weeks ago the school was broken into with thieves stripping all the copper piping,"he said.
"That, of course, caused a set back - and now this has happened. The staff and children are absolutely gutted.
"The early years children are only four and five - they don't understand why people would want to steal from them.
"Coming back to school after the 18 months we've had with Covid, trying to get children back to normality has been hard enough without this happening.
"Children learn through play and that's what they've missed out on throughout Covid. They need to be together. That's how they learn."
But Mr Goddard has such praise for the whole school community.
"Staff, parents and the community as a whole have been fantastic. Our parents are amazing.
"They've taken the break-in quite personally. Everyone is really rallying around - our community and our school are strong and we will do everything humanly possible to get things back for the children."
Mr Goddard said that they have since been generously offered donations, fundraising and help from local businesses.
"The hardest thing was having to tell the children what had happened," he said.
"They can see their new outdoor play area and track almost complete, but when it is finished in a few weeks time, they won't have anything to play on.
"It's just the shock of why anyone would do this to school children. Any kind of theft is terrible, but to steal from children, there are just no words."
Anyone with information about the theft can call West Yorkshire Police via 101.