POLICE have stepped up the hunt for vandals responsible for a wave of attacks on schools.

Windows were smashed, furniture and equipment was damaged and toilets were flooded after vandals targeted four schools in Richmond and Catterick Garrison at the weekend.

One of the schools targeted on Friday night, was St Francis Xavier in Richmond.

Headteacher Dr Joe McAuley condemned the attack, which has left the school with a large repair bill for damaged musical equipment and flooded toilets.

He said: "It's really just wanton vandalism.

"This is not a regular occurrence for us and the amount of damage is very unusual."

One keyboard was stolen, but was later dumped and has now been recovered.

Several windows were smashed and buildings were entered at St Mary's Primary School in Richmond, overnight on Friday.

Headteacher Adrian Brook said he was surprised there was not more damage.

He said: "We just have to hope it was aberration on the part of the youths concerned and none of the schools sites will be revisited in the foreseeable future.

"We have acted on all the advice given by police after previous incidents.

"However, we want to make the school welcoming for children and parents and becoming Fort Knox is not an option."

The alarm at Richmond Church of England Primary School, in Frances Road, sounded at about 4am on Saturday morning after thieves broke in through a skylight.

Nothing was taken. The break-in was the second at the school in a week.

Last Monday, vandals stole tins of paint from a classroom and poured the paint over the playground.

Risedale School, in Catterick Garrison, was broken into on Saturday. Windows were smashed but again nothing was taken.

Police are stepping up patrols of the area.

Sgt Dave Williams, of Richmond Police, said: "We are upgrading our response to these kind of incidents and paying them more attention because there seems to be a particular spate of them at the moment.

"I would urge anyone who saw anything suspicious over the weekend to give us a call."

Anyone with information is asked to call Richmondshire police on (0845) 6060247.