Goldenhill Primary School cleaner falls down uncovered manhole
A CLEANER has fallen down an uncovered manhole at the school where she works.
Investigators are now trying to establish whether thieves stole the cover from a path within the grounds of Goldenhill Primary School to sell as scrap metal.
Sharon Hall needed 20 stitches to her left leg after plunging down the drain as she walked to work in the dark at 6.30am on Monday.
The 43-year-old had to be pulled free by a work colleague after managing to break her fall with her arms.
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Now the school and Stoke-on-Trent City Council are investigating the incident.
Headteacher Neil Wade said: "I can confirm that an employee of Stoke-on-Trent City Council received an injury following an accident early on Monday morning before the start of school. It would be inappropriate to provide any further information while we are looking into exactly what happened.
"First aid was given to the lady on site before further treatment was received in the accident and emergency department.
"I spoke with her when she returned from hospital and our best thoughts are with her as she makes a recovery."
Mrs Hall, who lives in Tunstall, was taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire by her husband following the accident.
She remains off work and filled out an accident report for the city council yesterday.
Council officials yesterday declined to comment on the investigation, while Staffordshire Police have no record of a manhole cover being stolen from the school over the weekend.
Tom Simpson, secretary of Sandyford and Goldenhill Residents' Association, who lives in Ridge Road, Sandyford, said: "This incident could have been worse.
"The concern is if a small child had fallen down it or an elderly person. An older individual could have suffered from shock and they could even have been killed.
"It is surely expensive for the city council to replace these types of things and that is an additional drain on them."
Latest figures show the city council has replaced 487 stolen iron grid covers in just two years at an estimated cost of more than £73,000.
The number of incidents is also soaring, with a total of 349 stolen in 2011/12, up from 138 just a year earlier.
Authorities are forced to spend between £150 and £200 on replacing the grids.