EXCLUSIVE: Heartless thieves in Christmas raid at Harrow Road playgroup

Toys stolen and pupils’ cards torn up as thieves hunt for cash in third burglary of the year

HEARTLESS thieves have burgled a Harrow Road playgroup for the third time this year – stealing the children’s toys and ripping up Christmas cards they had written for their classmates.

Tots, aged two to five, arrived at Elgin pre-school last Wednesday morning to find their cards torn up on the floor as burglars hunted for cash inside them.

The community playgroup, which looks after 16 children, has already been burgled in January and September.

In every raid, a laptop, camera and cash have been stolen.

On one occasion, thieves filled up a bin with the children’s food and sweets and, in another, they bagged toys, games and books.

Lynn Bedwell, whose two-year-old son goes to the school, said: “It’s just shocking for people to do that. You begin to wonder if the children are safe. It’s horrible.

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“Their friends are really important to the children. So to know their Christmas cards have been ripped up is horrible.

“One of the little girls said we should catch the people who did it, put them in a bin and put the lid on top.”

Pre-school manager Vicki Yerby said she made sure large amounts of money were not left on the premises.

Extra locks had been fitted after the first two incidents but the thieves kicked the doors out of their frames.

“I have worked here for 15 years and there has never been a problem before this,” she said.

“It’s disgusting and it traumatises the children. These people know they are stealing straight from children. There are no words for them really.

“The kids are asking, ‘Why did these people come in and take our toys’?

“It’s like they wait for us to put the stuff back and then just come back in and take it all over again.”

As well as school equipment and the children’s items, the thieves also stole Christmas presents which Ms Yerby had bought for students who help look after the children.

The playgroup is already low on funds and Ms Yerby is now worried that their insurance company will stop insuring them.

Det Con Will Manderson, of Westminster Burglary Squad, said: “All efforts are being made to find the people responsible for last Wednesday’s burglary.

“We are also continuing to investigate the two incidents which occurred earlier in the year – although there is nothing to suggest the three are linked.

“I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to the local community for any information they may have which could assist our investigation.

“If anyone remembers anything, even something they feel may be insignificant, please let us know as it may help us to find those responsible.”

Anyone with information can contact Westminster Burglary Squad on 020-7321 6970.