Heartless thieves have stolen thousands of pounds worth of bicycles from a Burnley special school.
The raiders broke into the Rose School and made off with 31 high-quality bikes which are used by pupils to keep fit and active.
The haul, which included mountain bikes and BMXs, is estimated to be worth up to £11,000 and fears are the Greenock Street school cannot afford to replace them.
Headteacher Nicola Jennings said it was a huge blow and her pupils have been left bitterly upset that their bikes had been stolen.
She said: “It is really disappointing because the pupils really liked using the bikes.
“They are genuinely upset that they have gone because we don’t think we will be able to replace them. The bikes were very expensive.
“These people don’t think about the impact it will have on the young people.”
Police believe the thieves targeted the school on Friday between 10pm and 11pm. A metal container in the school grounds was broken into where the bikes were kept. The bikes were then taken across the field and passed over the school’s perimeter fence. Police have launched an investigation and CCTV footage from the site is being scoured.
The Rose School teaches young people with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties and cycling is a big part of the PE and sports curriculum.
Ms Jennings said pupils regularly enjoyed riding the bikes around a track at school and were even taken out on cycling trips to the countryside.
She said: “We are very committed to PE because it keeps the pupils fit and active.
“We had just bought a new trailer so we can go out, not just on the track, but go out in the minibus and do some really good rides along proper paths in the country.
“But now we have got a trailer and no bikes so we are not in a position to do that any more.
“I would like to replace the bikes and will look into it but our budget is tight as it is with many other schools.”
Ms Jennings believes a member of the public or neighbour may have seen suspicious activity around the school last Friday night.
She hoped any witnesses would come forward and help the police with their investigation to see the bikes returned to the school.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the bikes is urged to contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.