HEARTLESS thieves stole thousands of pounds worth of specially adapted play equipment from a school for disabled children.
The burglars took six bikes worth more than £2,000 – paid for by charitable donations from the community – from Castle Hill School in Newsome.
They broke into a secure shed on Tuesday night before making off with their valuable haul.
But headteacher Gill Robinson said the items would be useless to anyone who was not severely disabled.
She said: “This was extremely specialist play equipment that was suitable only for children with physical difficulties.
“I can’t think there’s a market for it.
“It will have a dreadful impact on the children, who rely on it to be able to play.
“I’d like to think that if whoever stole it realised the effect it will have, they would return it.”
Castle Hill School, opened off Newsome Road South in 2006, looks after pupils with severe physical and learning difficulties.
They had previously been taught at Turnshaws School, Kirkburton, or Highfields School, Huddersfield.
Castle Hill has more than 100 pupils and about the same number of staff.
Tuesday’s break-in was the second time in a year that equipment has been stolen.
The bikes have been specially adapted so children can be strapped in and given help to use them by an adult.
Ms Robinson said: “We will have to replace them because otherwise the pupils have nothing to play with, but they are extremely expensive.
“The thieves left a few bits and pieces but took the most valuable items.
“Some of the children are aware that the bikes aren’t there but don’t understand that they have been stolen and want to know why they can’t play now.”
Det Con Dave Kinghorn, of Huddersfield Police, said: “This was a despicable act.
“It would have been obvious to whoever was responsible that these bikes were specially designed for disabled children and were not suitable for people who do not have special needs.
“We would urge any members of the public who know anything about the offenders in this matter to pass information onto the police in order that we can bring them to justice and, just as importantly, return the equipment to the people that really need it.”
The bikes are red, blue or yellow.
The yellow bike has a passenger seat at the rear.
Anyone with information should call Moldgreen Police Station via 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.