Callous theft of lead leads to water damage and ceiling collapse at Woodford Green school

A callous theft of lead from the roof of a Woodford Green secondary school has led to recently redecorated classrooms being water damaged and a ceiling partially collapsing.

Caretakers opened up Woodford County High School for Girls in High Road, Woodford Green, on Tuesday of last week while pupils were on their Easter break and discovered water damage in seven classrooms and four integral offices.

Lead from about 100 metres of guttering on part of the main school building had been taken by opportunist thieves sometime between then and April 5, police believe.

With heavy rain on Easter Monday, water escaped into classrooms on the top floor.

Two computers and instruments in a music room were damaged.

Then on Wednesday of last week, part of the roof in a food tech room collapsed after it sat wet throughout the previous day.

Keith Barnard, the school business manager, said: “It was very frustrating for the site staff and teachers when we came back on Monday.

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“We have all this damage and all this work that needs to be done.

“Over the last year or two, the majority of the classrooms had been redecorated.

“In one or two new ceilings were put in and the rooms were painted.

“We got them nice and clean and tidy and now they’re not.”

Mr Barnard added that where needed the ceilings have now been replastered and made safe, with a polythene cover blocking the gap in the food tech room.

No estimate has yet been made on the value of the stolen lead or the cost of the damage.

All the rooms have since been accessible to pupils except for the music room.

Mr Barnard said: “The music room had a carpet so that soaked up the water and now it’s smelling a little bit of damp.”

Waltham Forest police, who are investigating the theft, were called to the school on Tuesday of last week and no arrests have been made.

Mr Barnard said: “We want to make it clear there’s no lead left on the roof and we won’t be replacing it with lead.”