Teens repeatedly rob own school

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 27/07/2012

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Eleven South Auckland students have been caught burgling their own school.

Police responding to an alarm at Mangere's Southern Cross Campus about 3am last Thursday found the boys trying to break into the school's tuck shop.

Southern Cross was one of four schools in Mangere and Otahuhu repeatedly targeted by thieves in the July school holidays. There were 22 school burglaries in Counties Manukau over the two week period.

Counties Manukau police area commander Jason Hewett said the students had broken into the school several times during the preceding week.

Southern Cross principal Robin Staples said there was no money in the tuck shop so the pupils took a few minor items such as lollipops.

They also damaged a door which needed replacing.

''They must have been very disappointed about what they found,'' Staples said.

The youths are being dealt with by police Youth Aid.

Police have imposed a curfew on those involved so the school is not expecting further trouble, Staples said.

''We have had a good response from the families and are working to the best of our abilities to make sure they do not get caught up in this type of offending again.''

Staples said the students' experience from their brief foray into crime will be enough to put them back on the right track.

''The police have given them a real fright and I am optimistic these boys won't be doing it again.''

Hewett said it was difficult to protect schools.

''Unless they have very strong security they are vast geographical areas with lots of spaces hidden from view. And they are unoccupied during holidays and over weekends.

''It is encouraging that we are able to identify the offenders in several cases and bring them to justice.''

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