Thief steals pupils’ milk from East Craigs Primary

East Craigs pupils did not want for their milk, but the theft has been reported to police and action is to be taken. Picture: Ian Georgeson
East Craigs pupils did not want for their milk, but the theft has been reported to police and action is to be taken. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A theft has left hundreds of young children with a sour taste in their mouths after more than 140 cartons of milk were stolen from a primary school.

The milk was stolen from the school steps in the early hours of Tuesday after it was delivered to East Craigs.

To add insult to injury the milk was wasted, with staff finding it had been poured over the road just a short way down the street.

The theft is now being investigated by the police, while council bosses have moved to rearrange delivery times at the school in order to prevent a repeat of the incident.

Drumbrae Community Council chairman, Reginald Kingman, said that while those behind the incident most likely considered it a “lark” he was not surprised the police had been involved.

“It’s not very nice,” he said. “Happening at that time, it’s more than likely young lads or teenagers.

“It won’t have been the kids that go to the school. Probably just lads having a lark – in their minds at least.

“The only thing I can think of is to involve the police.”

A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council reiterated these sentiments and confirmed the police had been contacted.

“This was reported immediately to the police and another delivery of milk arranged for the children,” he said. “The school is taking steps to prevent this happening again.”

These preventive measures are believed to be involve rearranging the delivery schedule in order to give criminals less time to cause damage and disrupt school days for children.

The police have also issued a statement through a spokesmen who confirmed their involvement, saying: “The Lothian and Borders Police are investigating following a theft from an Edinburgh school. Anyone who remembers seeing anything suspicious in the area is asked to contact police immediately.”

The theft, and apparent destruction of the milk, follows a recent craze called “milking”, which sees people pouring large quantities of milk over their heads and posting videos of the stunts to websites such as YouTube.

At this stage, however, police have not commented on whether or not there are any suspects. It is also unclear if there is an ulterior motive beyond upsetting the routine of young children.

Milk has a long history within the British education system and in 1946, a daily one-third pint of milk was free for every student under 18. In 1971, Margaret Thatcher, at the time Conservative education minister, pushed legislation that meant milk was no longer freely available to children over seven.

Further budget cuts in 1980 led to pupils aged between five and seven no longer being entitled to free milk.

Nonetheless, it remains a vital part of school dinners at both primary and secondary level. Students entitled to free school dinners are also given a 200ml carton of milk each day.

The incident has drawn comparison between another milk theft that took place in the English Midlands in summer 2011. In this incident a man, since dubbed the Stourbridge Milk Thief was filmed stealing milk bottles from doorsteps.

Anyone with information relating to the incident should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311-3131.