Brazen thieves have once again targeted Tauranga Primary School, stealing and damaging seven external alarm bells.

Susan O'Neill, the school's executive director, said the vandals attacked the school sometime between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

The thefts and vandalism were discovered by staff as they arrived on Wednesday morning.

"A total of seven alarm bells were either taken or have been damaged beyond repair. This is the third time something similar has happened at our school in the past year," she said.


O'Neill said these bells were also linked to the school's public address system and the fire alarm system to alert anyone on the school grounds in the event of an emergency.

The thieves would have had to scale walls and climb up on to a roof in one instance to reach the bells which were installed three to four metres above the ground, she said.

After the last vandalism, the bells were collared and strapped in place, and despite the school grounds being open to public eyes it did not deter these offenders, O'Neill said.

"It's not only extremely disappointing but disrespectful to our school and very frustrating as it's going to be an expensive fix-up job.

"These type of thefts and vandalism only steal money away from the school's operational budget and that's money that should be going towards the children and their education."

Tauranga Primary executive director Susan O'Neill is frustrated after a recent vandalism atrack at the school. Photo/John Borren.
Tauranga Primary executive director Susan O'Neill is frustrated after a recent vandalism atrack at the school. Photo/John Borren.

O'Neill said, once replacement bells were purchased, the whole alarm system would need to rewired and reset which would take some time to be ready before the school reopened.

She estimated the replacement and repair bill could be between $1500 and $2000.

"We're going to have to find a new solution to ensure this does not happen again, and we may need to install CCTV security cameras."

A police officer visited the school yesterday to test for fingerprints, O'Neill said.

Police have confirmed they were investigating the thefts from Tauranga Primary School in 5th Avenue overnight on January 9-10.

Police would like to hear from anyone who knows someone who has come into possession of similar devices, or anyone who saw any suspicious activity in or around the school that night.

Andrew Hutchinson, the Ministry of Education's acting head of education infrastructure service, said there had been no reports of vandalism or thefts at Western Bay schools received by the Ministry over the summer break.

But schools were not required to do report incidents, Hutchinson said.

However in late December 2017 there were damages arising from two arson-related incidents at Arataki School and Mount Maunganui Intermediate.

Hutchinson said each year schools received funding to manage vandalism, which could be used to install security systems such as burglar alarms, CCTV, or pay for security guards.

When a school faced particularly high costs for vandalism and graffiti, they could apply for further funding, he said.

The Ministry was not able to provide details of vandalism and theft costs at Western Bay of Plenty schools last year.

Anyone who has any information about the thefts or vandalism should call Tauranga police on 07 577 4300 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.