A SCHOOL in Darlington has been burgled for the third time since Christmas.

Thieves broke into Firthmoor Primary School and stole an overhead projector from the computer suite between Thursday night and Friday morning.

It is the third projector to be stolen from the Highmoor Road school since Christmas, and follows a spate of thefts and vandal attacks on schools in Darlington.

Nearby Dodmire Junior School was also broken into overnight from Thursday into Friday - four windows were smashed, but nothing was stolen.

Yesterday, Darlington police appealed for anyone who is offered an overhead projector to contact them so they can track down the thieves.

The projectors are often hooked up to PlayStation games consoles so youngsters can play video games on a big screen.

They are worth about £2,000 each.

Inspector Gordon Scott said: "Two schools have been broken into and there was another about two weeks ago in which a laptop was stolen.

"If you are offered a projector, please bear in mind that it could be from a school."

Over the summer, Darlington police appealed for the public's help after 18 ceiling projectors were stolen in three months. Police said they were being sold on the town's estates for a fraction of their real value and as little as £25. Laptops, computers and televisions are also regularly stolen.

Break-ins and vandal attacks at schools and colleges have risen recently, with latest figures showing that the number of insurance claims has increased year-on-year by 50 per cent.

Anyone with information, or who is offered an overhead projector, is asked to contact police on 0845 60 60 365.