Live power cables outside a Newcastle primary school were cut in an “extremely dangerous” act of vandalism targeting traffic sensors.
Council bosses have called the deliberate targeting of equipment outside Ravenswood Primary School in Heaton “disappointing and concerning”, saying there was a serious risk of someone being injured. Monitors counting traffic on Ravenswood Road was damaged last Friday morning, while children were in school, when someone cut their electrical cables.
The sensors had been installed to count the number of vehicles driving past the school, which is taking part in a trial scheme that involves surrounding roads being closed at peak times to make the area safer and less polluted for pupils.
A spokesperson for Newcastle City Council said: “It’s both disappointing and concerning to see that traffic monitoring equipment near to Ravenswood Primary School, in Heaton, has been targeted. This involved electrical cables being deliberately cut, which is extremely dangerous and put those responsible and others at serious risk of injury.
“This equipment is there to allow us to review and assess the impact of the trial school street scheme, which is in place to help pupils enjoy safer and more active journeys to school. Thankfully the damage can be repaired and we will continue to monitor the impact of the school streets trial.”
Three sensors were damaged in total, with equipment at the eastern side of nearby Armstrong Bridge also targeted in the incident – which happened between 11.15am and 11.30am on May 5.
Northumbria Police confirmed it was investigating.The force said: “On Monday we received a report of traffic sensors outside of Ravenswood Primary in Heaton having been damaged. Enquiries are ongoing into the damage.”
Ravenswood is one of several Newcastle primary schools taking part in the council’s ‘School Streets’ trial. The experiment has seen the roads around the school closed off to motor traffic during pick-up and drop-off times, in a bid to encourage parents not to use their cars on the school run.
Tech firm Streets Systems, which supplied the council’s traffic sensors, said on Twitter that the vandals “succeeded only in putting themselves and the people around them at risk”. They also encouraged people to report any contact online with people “who are spreading conspiracy theories which might lead someone to commit criminal damage to traffic counting equipment”.
Ravenswood Primary School was contacted for a comment.
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