Update: Dereham Town FC and Swaffham Rugby Club both suffer break-ins during the same weekend

Swaffham Rugby club has been burgled three days after five loads of fly tipping was dumped on its grounds - Club chairman Ian Milligan. Picture: Matthew Usher. Swaffham Rugby club has been burgled three days after five loads of fly tipping was dumped on its grounds - Club chairman Ian Milligan. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Sunday, May 18, 2014
2:42 PM

Dereham Town FC has become the second Norfolk sports club to report a break-in this weekend, following an earlier burglary at Swaffham Rugby Club.

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Officials at Swaffham Rugby Club discovered the damage to their fire doors, bar shutters and alarm system on Saturday morning, after thieves smashed their way into the clubhouse and stole a safe containing cash and valuables.

The theft happened just three days after five loads of fly-tipped rubbish – including most of a kitchen – were dumped at the club’s home ground on North Pickenham Road.

As the waste was left on private land, the club was told by Breckland Council it has to pay to have it removed itself.

At the end of a difficult week, chairman Ian Milligan said: “Frustrated is not the word.

“Whatever was in the safe was not an awful lot of money. It is a reasonable amount, but it is smaller than it would have been if we’d had a function or training. The thing that will cost money is the alarm system has been attacked, the phone line has been damaged and the bar shutters have been broken and smashed.

“Last time we were broken into, it cost £1,600 in damage for someone to steal three bottles of scotch. The club has not got £1,600 to put something like this right.

“We are in the business of trying to help people spend their free time in an enjoyable manner and we don’t make money as a club. We churn the money into doing things for the community, and then you get some oik – who does not put the same effort into what they do as the rest of us – deciding they can go and help themselves. That’s not on.”

Mr Milligan said the break-in came the day after he received an email from the courts concerning £845 in compensation which his club is owed for the previous break-in, which happened in January 2013.

“To date, we have not seen a penny of it,” he said. “It is more than annoying. The frustration is that they are targeting places like the rugby club, which is only funded by its members and volunteers.

“It is not the end of the world – we will get over it, but I certainly hope the police find whoever did this.”

Following that theft, Dereham Town FC reported earlier today that thieves had broken into the club’s home ground on Norwich Road, between 2.30am and 3.30am.

A police spokesman said: “A safe was attacked and it looks like a small amount of cash was taken and later discarded. One of the tills was taken as well.

“Whether the two thefts are linked is hard to say. There are similarities, so the inference is there, but all I can say is that the officers investigating will be talking to each other and both scenes will be forensically examined.”

Anyone with information about either break-in should contact Norfolk police on 101.

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