Community rallies together to support rugby club targeted by burglars

PUBLISHED: 15:26 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:26 16 April 2018

Lakenham Hewett RFC break-in. Club president Andy Pullinger.

Lakenham Hewett RFC break-in. Club president Andy Pullinger. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Members of the community have rallied together to support a rugby club targeted by burglars twice in three days.

Lakenham Hewett RFC break-in.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYLakenham Hewett RFC break-in. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Lakenham Hewett Rugby Club, based on Main Road in Swardeston, suffered extensive damage to its pavilion during a second break-in on Tuesday, April 10.

Criminals ripped off cupboard doors and stole several bottles of spirits, as well as at least five cases of wine.

Just two days earlier on Sunday, April 8, burglars smashed their way through a rear heavy-duty door and stole a till containing a yet unknown quantity of cash.

Club president Andy Pullinger, 62, said in the past week there had been outpouring of support from the community.

“It is heartwarming to see that after the depravity of the burglary, the community has come together to help us,” he added.

“We have had a fantastic response and we are so grateful to those who have helped.”

The club hosted an auction on Saturday, which raised £1,000. Further donations over the past week have taken the total to £2,000, Mr Pullinger said.

One local company has also offered to provide and install an alarm system free-of-charge.

Meanwhile, club chairman Andy Leech said an ex-player had provided emergency repairs at short notice to secure the building.

He added that an ex-ladies player donated a “large” amount of money to help out.

The Mulbarton Sports and Social Club also donated its old till to replace the stolen one.

“The rugby community has been really great, as well as our past and present club members.

“It is hard work, but we are going to get back on our feet.”

Following the burglary on Tuesday, Mr Pullinger said it was likely to cost “thousands” of pounds to fix the damage.

He said while it will not affect the club’s ability to play rugby, it will impact all of the volunteers who help out.

A police spokesman said the first burglary happened at some point between 4pm on Sunday, April 8 and 8.30am on Monday, April 9.

The second break-in took place overnight between 10pm on April 10 and early Wednesday morning (April 11).

• Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information call Norfolk Police on 101 and ask for PC 1806 Gardiner

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