Thieves schooled in putting police to the test

Coach Mark Crolla is angry about the theft from the school
Coach Mark Crolla is angry about the theft from the school
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BRAZEN thieves have ransacked a school’s changing rooms while 160 would-be police officers sat exams in the same building.

Cash and mobile phones worth hundreds of pounds were stolen during a Spartans youth game held on Monday evening at Broughton High School, where scores of potential police recruits were sitting entry tests to get into the force. Police have now appealed for witnesses and insist their rookie officers are not suspected.

Players from Spartans 1993 under 19s had returned to the changing rooms in celebratory mood following a decisive 4-1 victory over clubmates Spartans Colts to find their bags had been looted.

Six mobile phones were taken in the theft – including three BlackBerrys – with the total value of the swag thought to be up to £700.

Spartans often use the school’s artificial football pitches, which are opposite the Lothian and Borders Police HQ on Fettes Avenue.

Mark Crolla, one of the club’s under-19s coaches, said: “There’s an irony that a police exam was taking place in the school while this happened. You couldn’t make it up and couldn’t have written that.”

Mr Crolla said his players were on a high after defeating their clubmates in the South East Region Youth Football League encounter but when they returned to the dressing room “all hell broke loose”.

“The boys thought someone was on the wind-up at first but when it all settled down it turned out around six phones had been taken, some wallets and some money.

“They were all very angry about it and went to see the janitor, who had a look at the CCTV.

“The entrances into the changing rooms have buzzers that activate cameras when pressed.

“But like an intercom in a common stair, if someone’s leaving as you are coming in no buzzer has to be pressed and the CCTV doesn’t come on.”

He added: “Personally, I woke up in a rage through the night because it’s just not right. You are there for boys to get a game of football and it ended up becoming a nightmare.”

It is understood lockers were available for use by the team though they had chosen not to secure their belongings in them.

On the evening of the game Mr Crolla said there were hundreds of young people making use of the school’s facilities and he had no clue who the thieves could be.

A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are investigating after a number of mobile phones were stolen from within the changing room area of Broughton High School on Monday, August 29.

“Inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information that can assist in identifying those responsible should contact police immediately.”

david.mccann@edinburghnews.com