Special needs students at Coffs Harbour Public School with their teacher, Jenny Snodgrass.
Special needs students at Coffs Harbour Public School with their teacher, Jenny Snodgrass. Claudia Jambor

Stolen bikes a sad start to school term

COFFS Harbour Public School students with special needs were upset to discover some of their bikes were stolen during the long weekend.

It has been a sad start to the term, with four donated bikes and two helmets stolen as well as damage to the bike shed, with the wooden panelling hacked away to access the bikes.

Coffs Harbour Public School principal Leonie Buehler has condemned the actions of the perpetrators.

She said the robbery had hurt the community of students affected by the crime.

"It's a bit of a shock because it's a pretty dreadful act to come in and steal bikes from children with disabilities," she said.

"They're (the students) upset because it's something they enjoy doing at play times and it's a skill that we teach here, how to teach them to ride bikes."

Ms Buehler said the robbery had left the students in short supply of bikes to use for sport and playground activities.

"A lot of our bikes are modified for the different needs of the children, so these bikes, the four of them, they're all quite different, and it means that the children who normally ride them may not be able to access any of the other bikes because they don't suit the needs of those particular children," she said.

At this stage, Ms Buehler said the school was unsure how the bikes would be replaced.

"We haven't had a discussion about that yet but it could be through fundraising or donations."

Teacher Jenny Snodgrass said it was not the first time the school had had break-ins.

She recalled a series of incidents where people had broken into the school's new $35,000 playground and jumped on the trampoline using their bikes.

Anyone with information is asked to call Coffs Harbour Police Station on 6691 0799.

You can also phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.