THOUSANDS of pounds earmarked for children's education is having to be spent repairing a school roof.

A group of youths have been climbing onto Heathlands Primary School, in West Bergholt, over the summer damaging the roof and causing it to leak.

Acting headteacher Rick Cranfield said staff were concerned for the culprits' safety.

He said: "The biggest issue is the people up there who are putting themselves at risk.

"There is a very real danger of them falling off and badly injuring themselves or worse.

"Of course the knock on effect of this is that having been up on the roof there has been damaged caused, either inadvertently or purposefully.

"I have had to get some roofers in to give us quotes and it's going to cost us a few thousand pounds to put right."

The trouble at Heathlands Primary School began over the summer when a group began climbing on the flat roof.

Since then it is thought they have been up there three or four times, with CCTV cameras spotting them and residents reporting the incidents.

Essex Police are investigating.

Mr Cranfield said: "It is frustrating because that money should have been put forward to further the children's education and now it won't be.

"It is a felt roof and because of the people going up there and the hot weather it has split.

"Parts of it will have to be replaced or repaired.

"If it was a tiled roof and just a few of them had been damaged then it would have been easier.

"Thankfully there haven't been any incidents that have affected the day to day running of the school.

"It tends to be during the holidays or evenings but luckily none of it has affected the children's classrooms."

It is thought to be the first time people have been spotted on the school roof and Mr Cranfield is hoping it will be the last.

He added: "It hasn't happened before this summer.

"We just want them to not be up there and to put themselves out of harms reach.

"We want the funding to go towards the children and their learning rather than making repairs to damage which has been done accidentally or on purpose."

If you have any information contact Essex Police on 101.