Community rallies as thefts leave Leeds club to count the cost

Laurie Baker, chairman of Hunslet Warriors.
Laurie Baker, chairman of Hunslet Warriors.
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Officials at an amateur rugby club say they have been touched by the community’s response after thieves trashed their premises – 24 hours after a suspected child burglar broke into a nearby club.

Hunslet Warriors’ clubhouse was burgled after the patio doors were smashed in the early hours of Thursday.

A small amount of cash was taken, but damage ran to more than £1,000 after the club’s juke box was attacked and the safe was removed.

However, chairman Chairman Laurie Baker said people had rallied round.

“What you find when something like this happens is that people really pull together,” he said.

“The number of phone calls and messages we had from people in the hours after it happened was really touching. People have been asking what they can do to help.

“It’s disappointing – and it makes you ask if it’s worth it carrying on – but when you have people around you and a good team as well, you just have to keep going and not let these things get to you.”

The incident happened at about 3am when a brick was thrown through the patio doors.

Police were automatically alerted to the break-in by a security alarm, but the thieves had left the Anchor Street premises within ten minutes, having raided the jukebox for cash and attempted to steal the safe.

Mr Baker added: “It’s the damage and the vandalism which are worse than what they’ve actually stolen.

“It’ll probably cost us about £1,000, which might not sound that much, but it’s off-season at the momenta and we don’t have any revenue coming in.

“We have managed to keep ourselves in the black since about 2006 but we have seen a deterioration in things in the last four to five years. A lot of places are struggling.”

The incident happened about 24 hours after the Peggy Tub social club, about half a mile away on Woodhouse Hill Road, was broken into.

Thieves got in through a window measuring about one foot across before attacking gambling machines for cash.

Club steward Garry Haigh said: “I think it must have been a really young lad to get in through that space.

“Things are tough at the moment and it’s hard enough trying to survive and then rug-rats like this come in and do this. They have no scruples.”

Police are not currently linking the two incidents, but anyone with information about either offence should call Holbeck neighbourhood police via 101.

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