Small footprints quickly helped police narrow down who might be behind vandalism at two West Auckland schools over the weekend.
Two primary school-aged youngsters have since been found to be responsible for wreaking havoc at Kelston Primary and Kelston Intermediate schools on Sunday afternoon.
Staff members were first alerted to the situation after a fire alarm was triggered at the primary school at 3.41pm.
Principal at Kelston Primary, Cliff Hughes, would arrive to find two classrooms and a dedicated deaf unit completely trashed - with windows smashed, doors damaged and items thrown everywhere.
The carpets were heavily damaged as paints and dyes had been tipped onto the floor.
The sinks were deliberately clogged up and the taps turned on - flooding the deaf unit and rendering the carpet in there completely useless for a classroom environment.
Hughes estimated between $7000 to $8000 worth of damage had been done to their school alone.
"It's been quite horrendous and it's just been another hassle during the Covid-19 lockdown," he said.
"It was just mindless vandalism. Things thrown around, smashed windows. Nothing was taken. There was just a whole lot of damage."
Police said officers were notified of incidents at the two schools over the weekend.
"Two children have been identified as being responsible. Police have been speaking with the family and youth aid referrals have been made," a spokesman said.
Hughes said police had informed them that the children involved were primary school-aged, but were not students there.
"They 'fessed up to police," he said.
'Based on the footprints, we knew they weren't adults'
Despite the confirmation youngsters were involved, staff had already figured that out after small footprints were spotted in one of the classrooms where paint had been splashed onto the carpet.
"Based on the size of the footprints, we knew they weren't adults."
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It is understood the youngsters did not take anything from the intermediate school either, but again trashed classrooms and smashed windows.
Hughes said it was the first time anything like that had happened in the last 12 years he had been principal at Kelston Primary.
Despite the massive damage, he said the local community had rallied around both schools to help clean up and to make sure both would be ready for all students returning to school on Monday.
Among those to the rescue in the last few days was a local flooring company, Glen Eden Flooring, which replaced damaged carpets at the primary school for free.