Mustard Video: Raiders used blowtorch to crack safe at Norwich social club

Canary Social Club treasurer, Denise Pulling with the burnt safes after the club was hit by burglars for the second time in six weeks, nearly causing a fire. Picture: Denise Bradley Canary Social Club treasurer, Denise Pulling with the burnt safes after the club was hit by burglars for the second time in six weeks, nearly causing a fire. Picture: Denise Bradley

Thursday, April 10, 2014
11:33 AM

Callous burglars targeted a Norwich social club twice in six weeks, leaving a trail of destruction that has threatened its future.

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The Canary Social Club's burnt safes after burglars struck for the second time in six weeks, nearly causing a fire. Picture: Denise BradleyThe Canary Social Club's burnt safes after burglars struck for the second time in six weeks, nearly causing a fire. Picture: Denise Bradley

Raiders smashed through the roof of Canary Social Club in the latest break-in, using a makeshift blowtorch to crack a safe and take £2,000 that was inside.

When alarms sounded the burglars ditched the lit blowtorch and fled, and club bosses said it was lucky the Thorpe Road venue did not burn to the ground.

The club has more than 300 elderly members who enjoy regular dance events, and treasurer Denise Pulling has vowed not to be beaten by the burglars.

“If the funds run out there will be nothing and the club will shut, but while there’s breath in my body I will keep it going,” she said. “My father did it for many years before he died.

Canary Social Club treasurer, Denise Pulling. The club has been hit by burglars twice in six weeks. Picture: Denise BradleyCanary Social Club treasurer, Denise Pulling. The club has been hit by burglars twice in six weeks. Picture: Denise Bradley

“We’re a friendly, social dance club, we rely on every penny and they’re just taking away the small pleasures some of these older people get by coming to our club and dancing.

“I’m just annoyed as every penny is precious to us.

“While these things keep happening it’s just putting us back all the time and we want to go forward.”

Intruders activated the burglar alarm at 5.23am on Friday, March 28 in the most recent break-in.

The club’s steward arrived to find light shining on to the dance floor, with a hole smashed in the roof and a wooden ladder going through it.

Ms Pulling said the burglars had tried to force a fire door that was replaced after a burglary six weeks earlier, and when they were foiled they went through the roof instead,

They smashed internal doors and a cage around the safe on their way, causing more than £1,000 of damage then taking £2,000 from the safe.

Acetylene gas cylinders had been used like a blowtorch to gain access to the safe, Ms Pulling explained, and the stolen cash had been raised at events including the club’s lottery bingo night.

“We hold our head above water,” she added. “We don’t make vast money.

“We lost nearly £2,000 last year due to a water leak.

“We had a little nest egg, so to speak, but that’s dwindling fast and won’t last much longer.”

She said alarms did not sound immediately, and the club is now investing in extra security measures.

Ms Pulling said organisers worked round the clock to ensure the club could open for its regular Saturday night dance.

“It was all hands on deck to open for the Saturday so as not to disappoint them,” she explained. “They love to come up. We’ve got a smashing dance floor.

“They have a waltz, a tango and a line dance and really look forward to it.”

No arrests had been made at the time of going to press.

Police are appealing for information about the incident which happened between 10.30pm on Thursday, March 27 and 5.40am the next day.

Call PC Paul Brown at Bethel Street Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

To donate money to help Canary Social Club or to volunteer at the club, call Denise Pulling after 5pm on 07759 235887.

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