A COMMUNITY has united to help after two schools in a small town were targeted in separate incidents.

Vandals struck over the half-term holiday at Prudhoe Castle First School, where the Small World Area shed was damaged. Offensive graffiti was written on the walls and furnishings and toys were damaged.

This was followed by an unrelated attempted burglary at Prudhoe West Academy. Police intervened after two intruders were reported to be on school property by a member of the public.

The community has rallied round and separate crowdfunding campaigns have been created for both schools.

The crowdfund for Prudhoe Castle First School, set up by Becca Irving, aims to replace damaged equipment and toys.

She said: “After the vandalism happened, we were aware it was cost a few hundred pounds to replace the damaged and destroyed items. The reaction has been overwhelming. We’ve had so many lovely messages and donations from throughout the community.”

Katie Newton, headteacher of Prudhoe Castle First School, said: “We’re not going to let this deter us or make us feel sad. It’s awful that these things happen, but how we react is what’s really important.

“Some of the older kids heard that it happened so we have used it as a learning point for respecting property and other people, and they’ve really taken on board how their actions can affect other people.

“Lots of books and furnishings were almost damaged beyond repair, so we’ll be improving that area for the children. We’ll make sure the learning environment is the best that it can be, and the children aren’t going to miss out on anything.”

The second crowdfund has been launched so that Prudhoe West Academy is able to install CCTV cameras.

Northumbria police have confirmed they are investigating both incidents.

A police spokesperson said: “We are investigating a report of criminal damage to a shed at Prudhoe Castle First School. The incident is believed to have happened between 2pm on Friday, March 26, and 8.15am on Monday, April 12, where graffiti has been written on the shed and paint thrown around it.

“Officers attended and carried out a number of inquiries and a 42-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of burglary but has since been released without further action and inquiries remain ongoing.”

With both crowdfunds, the community has issued a strong message which is echoed by Gordon Stewart, County Councillor for Prudhoe South, who said: “Any crime committed will have a detrimental impact upon someone, but crimes which are committed against part of the community such as schools are felt by so many. Our schools are a major part of Prudhoe and we all hold them in high regard, I ask that anyone with information contacts the Police.”