|Article taken from The Evening Telegraph dated 25th November 1968
Children were in tears at St. Mary's School, Burton Latimer this morning, when they were told the school pets had been tortured and killed following a break-in over the weekend. The school was broken into and cash stolen, but before the sadistic culprits left they:-
COVERED a pet guinea pig called Gussy with cleaning powder and drowned him;
TORTURED two hamsters with the same treatment before drowning one and taking the other;
KILLED a number of goldfish and tropical fish by putting washing up fluid in their tanks, and
RANSACKED the headmaster's study and stole money collected by the children for Oxfam.
On a desk the thieves left a note with the cruel message: "THANK YOU", in a young person's handwriting. It is now with the police who have already taken fingerprints at the Church of England School.
The headmaster, Mr. W. K. Pringle, said: ''The children were shocked and horrified about the pets. It was so sadistic, these animals must have suffered excruitiating agony." The school's 70 pupils, aged between 5-11, were told what had happened by a policeman when they arrived for school.
A spokesman for
The school was entered when a small window was broken and the latch lifted. Once into the school corridor, the thieves took savings stamps worth over £4 and the Oxfam money, about 14s, before going into the television room where the pets were kept.
Caretaker Mrs. A. W. Taylor, of
Two pets escaped. A tiny terrapin in a small basin was found alive, and Joey, the budgerigar, was at the home of one of the pupils over the weekend.
Mr. Pringle said the pets were great favourites of the children, who took them home often, particularly over holiday periods.
The Rev. D. Hole, Rector of Burton Latimer, said: "It is absolutely despicable for anyone to have done this. If anything makes my blood boil it is cruelty to animals. I hope the culprits are caught and properly punished.”