Leeds clubs left with huge bill after break-in

Keith Hardwick, groundsman at Rothwell Sports Club.
Keith Hardwick, groundsman at Rothwell Sports Club.
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Sports clubs have been left counting the cost after thieves caused thousands of pounds worth of “wanton damage” before stealing a small amount of cash.

Burglars trashed Rothwell Cricket Club and Rothwell Squash Club, which are next to each other on Royds Lane, during a break-in overnight on Monday.

Cricket club secretary Mark Symmonds said: “It was more the sheer damage they caused than what they stole that’s the issue. It’s probably about £20,000 of damage in total between the two clubs.”

The thieves disabled CCTV cameras and alarms at both properties and smashed through locked internal doors during the incident. Once inside the squash club they wrecked a water cooler, causing a leak which flooded the ground floor.

They smashed into vending machines to steal loose change and even broke into token-operated sunbeds in the mistaken belief that they contained cash.

Mr Symmonds said: “It’s gutting. Money is tight, sponsorship is impossible to get, we’re trying to start a junior section and we’re working really hard and somebody just comes along and destroys what you’re trying to do.”

Squash club secretary Barbara Duncombe said the ground floor was under about two inches of water when staff opened up early on Tuesday morning. She said: “They broke through every internal door they could. It’s just wanton damage because we don’t keep a lot of cash on the premises. It’s just so futile.”

After a clean-up the club is back up and running and has been made secure. Police are investigating. Anyone with information should contact the Leeds Outer South Neighbourhood Policing Team via 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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