Head pays reward for stolen laptop

PUBLISHED: 14:43 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 May 2010

A STOLEN laptop has been returned to a school after the headteacher offered a reward rather than calling the police. Dr Jenny Francis, head at Collenswood School in Stevenage, issued a £50 reward for the safe retrieval of a teacher s laptop. Dr Francis

A STOLEN laptop has been returned to a school after the headteacher offered a reward rather than calling the police.

Dr Jenny Francis, head at Collenswood School in Stevenage, issued a £50 reward for the safe retrieval of a teacher's laptop.

Dr Francis told The Comet: "If reported to the police we had nothing at all to go on, apart from the location and time."

She said she could have reported it to police and then insurance company but their excess is £100.

"At the stage we did not have any information about whether this had been a theft or a silly prank. The fact of the matter was we needed the laptop most urgently, the material on it being of considerable importance to the member of staff concerned and representing hours of time and effort which could not have been replicated.

"I therefore chose to make an offer of a reward to get the laptop returned while we started to investigate what had happened. Had this not brought about any success then naturally we would have reported it on to the police as a crime."

She said students, who she does not believe to be involved in taking the laptop, returned it.

She said: "This saved the community valuable police time, avoided an insurance claim and enabled us to retrieve the lost property in the speediest time possible, thus saving the teacher concerned enormous stress in a time of upheaval and uncertainty.

"Despite continued enquiries over the following 24 hours we were unable to ascertain whether or not the laptop had been stolen or hidden. We believe that at no time was it taken from the premises. Given that there was nothing eventually missing my understanding was that I had no crime to report."

A Herts Police spokesman said: "The school is under the control of the headteacher and we would support decisions made by them in relation to alleged crimes reported. In this case it does not appear a crime has occurred.

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