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Burglaries threaten Leeds cricket club that’s 160 not out

CLUB TARGET: Club chairman Nick Davis, left, and David Hodgson, president and groundsman.

CLUB TARGET: Club chairman Nick Davis, left, and David Hodgson, president and groundsman.

  • by Sam Casey
 

One of Leeds’s oldest cricket clubs is facing financial ruin after suffering 10 break-ins during its 160th anniversary year.

Kirkstall Educational Cricket Club could be forced to close after racking up losses and damages amounting to about £10,000.

Chairman Nick Davis said: “We’re not a cash-rich club and are always looking for money to keep our heads above water, but this has bled us dry.

“Realistically, it could spell the end of one of the oldest clubs in Leeds and all because of a bit of mindless theft by someone who might not realise the problems they are causing.

“We’re completely volunteer-led and it’s absolutely soul-destroying.”

Formed in 1853, the club is 10 years older than Yorkshire County Cricket Club and has more than 200 members, with three senior teams and seven junior teams.

The clubhouse, off Queenswood Drive, was first broken into last April, when thieves smashed a window and stole a television and spirits from the bar.

In November about £700 raised at a memorial bash for 21-year-old Tom Hardman – the former Leeds Metropolitan University cricket captain who died in 2012 – was taken.

Apart from those thefts there have been numerous break-ins, the most recent of which was on Christmas Eve.

“Now there’s very little left to take,” Mr Davis said.

“We’ve had very few problems in the past.

“Because we are very much a community club and a lot of our membership comes from the area we thought we were self-policing.

“We think we are being targeted by one or maybe two individuals. It’s got to the point where whoever is doing it sees it as a challenge.”

The club is appealing for the public’s help in catching the perpetrators and has asked for assistance in beefing up security.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, who is a patron of the club, urged anyone with information to contact the police.

She added: “Like many sports clubs and other community organisations, the club is dependent on its enthusiastic volunteers in order to operate.

“The pressure of having to deal with these constant break-ins is completely intolerable for those involved with running the club.”

 

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