Security upped and police checks after vandalism at former school
Windows and doors have been smashed and there are chairs and fire extinguishers strewn around as vandals move in on Alnwick's old high-school site.
Resident Gary Pentleton, who took these pictures of the damage at the former Duchess’s Community High School on Howling Lane, alerted the Gazette to the problem.
Both Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Police have offered assurances that the issue is now being monitored.
Neighbourhood Inspector Liz Hall said: “We are aware there has been an issue of criminal damage to the former school site in Howling Lane in Alnwick.
“Neighbourhood officers are carrying out checks to the premises and are working with Northumberland County Council to look at improving on-site security.
“There will also be further increased police activity in this area as our dog section are also going to be using the premises for training purposes.”
Several youths have been caught in the area and they are being dealt with in a partnership approach, which involves the police, community-safety staff and their parents. Police will continue to target any offenders or anyone who enters the school without authority.
A county council spokesman added: “There has been a number of incidents of vandalism at the site. We now have 24-hour security in place and are looking to have fencing put up around the site. We are also working to clear up the debris.
“We would remind parents and children that disused buildings can be extremely dangerous and should not be treated as playgrounds.”
The county council is still responsible for both of the former school buildings – on Howling Lane and Bailiffgate – at present.
In terms of the future of the sites, a spokesman added: “We are looking at a number of future options for the school site. The Bailiffgate building will be returned to Northumberland Estates when the lease ends later this year.”
Anyone with information about the damage should call police on 101, quoting reference number 1057 250916.