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Fundraising appeal as South Staffordshire zoo break-in leaves workers devastated

By Jordan Reynolds | South Staffordshire | Education | Published:

A break-in at a zoo where more than 500 students train has left workers “devastated,” with an appeal now launched to help replace stolen equipment.

Zookeepers Chloe Southan and Andy Cooper at Rodbaston Animal Zone

Thieves struck at Rodbaston Animal Zone – part of South Staffordshire College – and thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused.

A fundraising page has now been launched to raise £5,000 for the site in Penkridge.

Gill Gollins, Animal Zone operations manager said: “The break in has saddened us all, not only because of the damage and disruption caused but we are all devastated to think that somebody has broken in to steal equipment that helps our students and supports our visitors.

“However, we were really relieved that no animals were harmed and no enclosures were broken into.

"The Animal Zone is a small Zoo licensed collection based at South Staffordshire College’s Rodbaston site.

"We facilitate training and learning opportunities for over 500 Animal Care students, from entry level up to degree level courses as well as apprenticeships.

“We have a wide range of both domestic and exotic animal species, and open to the public as a small zoo and visitor centre during weekends and school holidays, providing a wide range of animal experiences and encounters.

"While we are currently closed for the winter, we are looking forward to hosting some special Christmas events in December, and are grateful that the break-in will not have an impact on these or any events, birthday parties or encounters planned.”

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So far £130 has been raised on the online page for the zoo.

Jayne Hill, from South Staffordshire College, wrote on the fundraising page: “We are very saddened to share that thieves broke into the Animal Zone.

"We are pleased to say that no animals were harmed. However, hundreds of pounds worth of damage and thousands of pounds worth of essential equipment was stolen.

"We are working with the police and forensics so that they can hopefully identify the culprits.

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"This is a huge cost that we would rather spend on our animals and ensuring our guests have a wonderful experience with us.

"As I’m sure you will appreciate this is a huge cost that we would rather spend on our animals and ensuring our guest have a wonderful experience with us.

"If anyone hears of any information about the break-in on Wednesday contact police quoting the crime number: CR109 FZ/87107/2019.”

To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/rodbaston-animal-zone.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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