Thieves stole students' treasured possessions from their school minibus while they trained for an expedition.

A team of pupils from Westfield Arts College in Weymouth went on a trip to Puddletown Forest as part of preparations for their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Expedition.

They arrived at Beacon Corner in the school minibus with their teacher before leaving the vehicle while they did their preparations for the expedition.

However, when they returned from their trip at about 2pm, they found that the school minibus had been broken into and the possessions inside taken.

Teacher Simon Davies said: "After a lovely few hours map reading and cooking, we returned to the bus to find the window smashed in and two of the students' bags stolen - a very unpleasant feeling, with stuff of value stolen, as well as irreplaceable items.

"It is a pretty horrible thing to happen. It was quite a shock for me and for the students."

The staff said that the students had left their possessions that were not essential to the Duke of Edinburgh Expedition in the minibus.

This included items such as photos and a personal log book.

Susie Jeffcott, the school's head of sixth form, said: "They had left most of their ordinary possessions in the bus.

"They had quite a lot of electronic equipment, and a lot of things that meant a lot to the kids.

"We have also now got a school minibus out of action. The police were informed and the minibus is being mended. We are looking at trying to replace the students' stuff."

Both teachers praised the students' maturity in their reactions to the incident.

Mr Davies said: "The students dealt with the incident maturely and should be praised for this. They are a really great group. They did deal with it very well."

Ms Jeffcott said: "They have done amazingly well coping with it. It is a shame you can't go into the woods and trust people not to violate your property. How mean is that? How low can you stoop?"

Anyone with information about the break-in, which happened last Thursday, should contact Dorset Police on 101 with crime reference number 55190093404.