Teachers urged to protect valuables from thieves

BRAZEN thieves are targeting teachers’ handbags left in classrooms at lunch breaks.

Primary schools in Cardiff and Glendale have been hit in recent weeks, prompting Lake Macquarie police to issue a warning about the problem.

Teachers and staff have been urged to be careful about where they keep money, credit cards and valuables and encouraged to lock classrooms or use lockers.

Reports about the issue in school newsletters have suggested the thief or thieves are female.

Also, parents and teachers at Jesmond Public School were advised last month the person or people entering state school grounds to steal were pretending to be parents.

The Newcastle Herald reported last month that thieves were posing as relatives and friends to rob patients at Hunter hospitals.

Principals said the incidents at schools reinforced the importance of visitors signing in at the school office when they entered school grounds.

A NSW Education Department spokesman said the department had received three reports of walk-in thefts at Newcastle and Lake Macquarie state schools since the start of the year.

‘‘Walk-in daytime theft at schools is rare,’’ he said.

He said the School Safety and Response Unit has advised Lower Hunter schools that police were aware of such incidents.

‘‘When such incidents occur schools immediately notify police, ensure that staff are vigilant in confirming that any unfamiliar visitors have legitimate business on the school grounds, and reinforce with students and parents the importance of adhering to sign-in procedures,’’ the spokesman said.

Schools are also becoming targets because of the increasing amount of technology kept on campuses.

A 17-year-old Raymond Terrace boy was charged this month with breaking into Irrawang High School, at Raymond Terrace, during the January school holidays.

Police allege the boy stole a plasma television from a classroom.

He will appear at Raymond Terrace Children’s Court this month.

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