Jail for burglar who affected children's education with raid on Sunderland school

Ian Smith
Ian Smith

A burglar who raided a primary school has been put behind bars and told he has affected the education of young children.

Ian Smith forced his way into Grange Park School in Sunderland last August via a fire exit door and caused more than £2,000 worth of loss and damage.

The school's headteacher told police in a victim impact statement: "Replacing and repairing items will come from the budget for the equipment of the children at the school."

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 27-year-old raider had forced a fire exit door to get into the school and taken two laptops from the headteacher's office.


He caused damage while trying to enter other areas of the building and forced a kitchen freezer compartment, which meant all of the food inside was ruined.


Smith, of no fixed address, admitted burglary.

He also pleaded guilty to burglaries at two flats in the city.

One of the flats was next door to an off-licence and Smith, with an accomplice, had kicked at the plasterboard adjoining wall between the properties to try and access the shop.

The flat tenant, who was home and asleep at the time, said he had been "put in some fear" by the realisation that his home was under attack.

Judge Tim Gittins sentenced Smith, who has a criminal record, to two years and eight months behind bars.

The judge told him: "The invoices for repair work and replacement of computers totals in excess of £2,000.

"Anyone who is aware of the austerity measures in place at the moment realises the the sort of tight budgets schools operate on and the fact they are unable to, in those circumstances, easily replace those vital items.

"Your sort of actions, committed, no doubt, in drink, to sell for a fraction of what the items are worth, had a direct effect on young children's education.

"As the headteacher said, it has had a direct impact on those young children."

Jennifer Coxon, defending, said Smith committed the offences because of his long standing alcohol issue, which he has now began to address and is determined to overcome.

Miss Coxon said Smith had been living a "chaotic lifestyle" and is willing to change and accept help.

Grange Park School. Picture c/o Google Maps

Grange Park School. Picture c/o Google Maps