A SCHOOL for disabled youngsters is being tormented by a gang of youths who vandalise the building, climb on the roof, urinate in the grounds and leave behind condoms and evidence of drug use.
Teachers and support staff at Birtenshaw School, in Bromley Cross, are having to spend their time fixing damage and clearing litter, while the school — a registered charity — has had to use funds to increase its security.
The yobs, thought to be in their teens or early 20s, have been blighting the Darwen Road school for the past six months, even smashing a glass panel at the main entrance door on one occasion.
Staff also feel scared when they are leaving work in the evening if the gang is congregating outside.
Michelle Hinselwood, deputy chief executive of the charity, said: “There has been damage to our property and significant problems with litter and what appears to be the remnants of drug paraphernalia and condoms.
“The people involved either do not know or do not care that we are a charity or that we support vulnerable disabled children.
“We would like the people who are doing this to please stop congregating at Birtenshaw and causing damage to our property. Their actions are affecting the quality of life for many disabled children.
“We are also concerned for the safety of those who have climbed over fences, gates or on to our roofs. They are putting themselves in danger.”
Residents and police have seen large groups of people in their teens or early 20s at the site, often climbing on the roofs.
Mrs Hinselwood said staff feel intimidated when they leave the building if youths are gathering, especially if the group has already been asked to move on by other workers at the school.
Problems started in March but have escalated in the past two months.
Mrs Hinselwood said: “We simply cannot accept the continued level of anti-social behaviour we are experiencing.
“It is impacting on the charity in terms of the amount of time spent dealing with these issues, the cost to repair the damage being caused and the impact on local residents.
“We are regularly having to repair damage caused. The cost of these repairs is being funded out of the charity’s funds.
"Any money spent on such repairs reduces the money we have available for essential services for disabled children.
“There is an increasing amount of time spent on dealing with this issue and this is time diverted from the running of the charity.”
Nuisance is being caused during the week but problems are worse at the weekend, when the building is not used as much, the charity said.
Birtenshaw, which offers schooling, care services and health provisions to children aged three to 19-year-olds, said it had no option but to spend much-needed funds on improving security.
Police said they were investigating and have increased patrols in the area.
Officers have also advised staff about how to improve their personal security.
Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.