The Sovereign Base Area Police last week donated six computers to the Xylophagou Secondary School in the Dhekelia region after they were seized, wiped of all information and refurbished during a four-year operation to close illegal casinos.

The computers, which had previously been used inside illegal casinos operating within the Western SBAs, were seized during raids that saw police officers officially confirm every secret facility had been shut down during a press conference in April this year.

This was the first donation of computers to schools within the Eastern SBAs and according to Divisional Commander, Andreas Pitsillides, it is hopefully not the last time.

He explained: “Historically, illegal casinos operating has not been a huge problem within the ESBA but our colleagues in the WSBA have done an incredible job of ensuring they have all been closed at that end of the island.

“As such, previous donations of computers have been focused on schools there, so we are delighted that Superintendent Dinos Petrou has been able to present the Xylophagou Secondary School with some computers and hopefully this will only be the start.”

Marios Lysandrou, the school’s headteacher, said he was delighted to be able to receive the computers on behalf of his Information Technology Department and said he “was looking forward to any other opportunities” to cooperate with the SBA Police in the future.

He also revealed, alongside his head of IT, Antonis Antoniou, that the school struggles with its infrastructure and in buying IT equipment, so the donation was set to make a huge difference to the lives of his students.

Superintendent Petrou, who headed up the SBA Police’s efforts to combat illegal casinos, said he was delighted to be able to help the Xylophagou Secondary School and revealed he was hopeful of helping other schools in the area too.

“So far, we have been able to donate more than 30 computers to schools within the WSBA and although this is the first time we have done the same in the Dhekelia area, we are of course very keen to support those students who are living and being educated in the ESBA.

“We have been getting some excellent feedback from teachers and students about how much these computers are helping their education and that is great to hear. As a police force, it is our duty to do what we can to improve the lives of those people that we serve and this is one way of us being able to achieve that aim.”

Speaking after the presentation, Superintendent Petrou also said the police operations to close all of the illegal casinos operating within the SBAs, was still proving a success.

During a four-year period from 2014, where police officers began raiding the illegal premises, more than €100,000 had been paid in bail money, close to €31,000 in cash had been seized, 10 people received prison sentences and 30 others received significant fines for illegal gambling.

And in looking back at those efforts to rid the SBAs of the illegal activity, Superintendent Petrou said: “We worked tirelessly for approximately four years to ensure that we were able to close down all of those illegal casinos and today, close to one year after the last one was closed, I am delighted to say we are still free of the illegal activity within our areas.”

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