A SCHOOL has been broken into twice in the last two weeks, prompting a call by the police for local residents help.

Accrington’s St John with St Augustine CE Primary was targeted on Friday, July 18, when a group of men broke into the school and stole a safe.

The men in their 20s, described as white, were wearing dark clothing when they approached the school between 11.35 and 11.55pm through the grounds of St John’s Church.

Police said the men broke into the school office after cutting a padlock to gain access to the playground but were disturbed when leaving with the safe, worth £500.

Officers said the gang left the area in a silver Peugeot 205 which was found abandoned a short distance away with the safe in side.

The Maudsley Street school was also targeted overnight on Friday, July 11. Police said the thieves approached the school through the grounds of the church and cut a padlock to gain access to the playground.

A brick was thrown through the office window before the room was searched. It is thought the thieves were disturbed before they could steal anything.

Officers have now promised to increase patrols around schools and warned thieves who target schools in the holidays that they will take ‘robust action’ against them.

A spokesman said: “It’s more important at this time of year than at any other that residents keep an eye out for anything suspicious around schools.”

During the summer period last year, there were 10 school break-ins and 16 cases of damage, compared with none at other times of the year. Anybody with information should call police on 101.