Sports club ransacked by thieves

Treasurer Michael Wintrip seen at Bedlington Cricket Club which has just been burgled.
Treasurer Michael Wintrip seen at Bedlington Cricket Club which has just been burgled.
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A SPORTS club has been hit for six after thieves broke in and ransacked the clubhouse.

Committee officials at Bedlington Cricket Club have been left shocked and angry after thieves targeted their premises behind Acomb Court.

The club had hosted a successful charity event on Friday night for a local woman who has battled breast cancer.

But they were brought back down to earth with a bump the following day after finding thieves had smashed their way into the clubhouse through strong metal shutters.

After breaking the window, the thieves entered the bar area and stole a 50-inch Panasonic flat screen TV and bottles of spirits, including gin and vodka, as well as bottles of cider.

As they made off, the thieves left a trail of broken glasses and crisps over the lounge area.

Up to a dozen club officials have spent the past few days clearing up the premises, with the early estimated cost of repairs and replacing the stolen items expected to be more than £3,000.

Committee member Malcolm Humble said they believed the club had been targeted by the thieves, who were either after the money raised from the charity night or the brand new television.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they were after the money from the charity night,” he said.

“They didn’t gain access to the safe but they did try.

“The thieves smashed the door in and trashed the place.

“We’ve had to close the clubhouse while we clean up.

“The premises were secure in the first place, these guys have been very persistent and we’ve had to look at making it even more secure in the meantime.

“It’s the first time in around 15 years that we’ve been targeted like this.

“We estimate this will cost thousands of pounds to repair, money we don’t have.”

Although the cricket season finished in September, the clubhouse is still used as a venue for birthdays, christenings and charity events.

Club staff say the theft has been a huge setback for the development plans they had been working on, after recently securing a grant to build new changing rooms and fully refurbish the toilets and the showers.

Planning permission was also being sought to erect a new fence to improve the general security of the area, with Mr Humble saying the latest incident was proof of how vital the fence would be.

Club secretary Stuart Irvine said: “The planning application has been held up due to some concerns from our neighbours in Acomb Court, but we are still looking at various methods of finding the funds to pay for the work.

“It will cost over £30,000, so that will take time to raise, and we could well do without this break-in.

“The cricket club is more than 114-years-old and the members are working hard to improve the facilities.

“Our goal is to provide the Bedlington area with a cricket club for another 114 years and unfortunately hard work sometimes is not enough, the finance is very hard to come by.”

Officers from Northumbria Police have been making enquiries into the theft, which happened between 12.30am and 8.55am on Saturday, October 27.

Anyone with information about the theft should contact officers at Bedlington Police Station on the 101 non-emergency number or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.