Thefts and vandalism are plaguing Larnaca’s schools, President of the district’s school board Petros Chrysostomou said on Wednesday.

Items such as air conditioner compressors, copper pipes, and solar water heater frames, are being stolen and other damages were being perpetrated some by students, Chrysostomou told the Cyprus News Agency.

“This year we are plagued by two big problems for which we are looking to find solutions. One […] is malicious damage which we believe is being done by students […] without actually stealing.”

The school board head said that a recent incident was recorded at St. George’s School, where unknown perpetrators broke down doors, knocked fans off the walls, and smashed a number of computers on the floor.

“They also broke several windows and wrote slogans on the walls -which is a daily occurrence these days,” Chrysostomou said.

The second big problem is that despite police patrols, thefts are occurring, the school official said, describing how perpetrators “climb onto the roofs of schools and steal copper pipes, air conditioner compressors, and solar water heater frames.”

The value of stolen items exceeded €20,000 in thefts committed between August 10 and August 25 at the Petraki Kyprianou gymnasium, Chrysostomou told the news source.

The school official said that cameras had not yet been installed in the schools, but consultations are taking place towards this end.

“I believe that we are on the right track for this measure to be taken in order to protect the schools,” he said.

Asked about school fences, he replied that they have been installed in all the schools with new internal fences installed recently at Petraki Kyprianou and at Zenon primary school.

“There are one or two schools left, however, where there is a need to install [double fences] and this is being done,” he added.

Chrysostomou said that in terms of other matters, the school year in Larnaca had started smoothly.

Construction is underway at the Evryviadeio gymnasium and at the Ayios Georgios primary school where a wing has been demolished and new facilities are being built.

Earlier in the year, the president of the Limassol school board Dinos Ellinas addressing a similar problem in that district, proposed that vandalism could be circumvented by opening up the schools as venues for community events after hours and on holidays.

The innovative idea was that the presence of people would deter would-be delinquents. Limassol was set to pilot the ‘open door’ approach in several schools by hosting events, such as sporting activities.