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Anger and disappointment as rugby club targeted by burglars twice in three days

PUBLISHED: 20:06 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 20:14 11 April 2018

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

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

Archant Norfolk 2018

Burglars have targeted a rugby club near Norwich for the second time in three days - stealing a till and large quantities of alcohol.

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 “enormous” damage to its pavilion during a second break-in last night (Tuesday, March 10).

Criminals forced their way through a locked front entrance before making their way into the kitchen and ripping off cupboard doors.

They stole several bottles of spirits and at least five cases of wine.

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

Criminals forced their way through a locked front entrance before making their way into the kitchen and ripping off cupboard doors. Photo: Liz BrownCriminals forced their way through a locked front entrance before making their way into the kitchen and ripping off cupboard doors. Photo: Liz Brown

Rugby club president Andy Pullinger, 62, said it was likely to cost “thousands” of pounds to fix the damage and replace the stolen items.

He said: “I am a bit peeved off to say the least.

“We have put our lives and souls into this club and then we get stuffed by people who just don’t care.

“What gets me is that the people who have done this have probably been in here for a drink.

Criminals forced their way through a locked front entrance before making their way into the kitchen and ripping off cupboard doors. Photo: Liz BrownCriminals forced their way through a locked front entrance before making their way into the kitchen and ripping off cupboard doors. Photo: Liz Brown

“They caused enormous damage to the kitchen and nicked a lot of boxes of wine and beer from the storeroom.”

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

He added that the club will have to pay for CCTV and alarms to be installed.

The pavilion is also used three-times-a-week by the Edith Cavell Day Centre, which provides lunch for the elderly.

Despite its kitchen being damaged, staff still came in to provide food for guests.

Liz Brown, who is one of the managers, said: “I was a bit shocked after seeing what had already happened on Monday.

“It was disappointing, especially when I came in and saw all the cupboards hanging off.”

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).

The rugby club is made up of several teams, including women’s and girl’s, with age groups ranging from five onwards.

• Anyone with information call Norfolk Police on 101 and ask for PC 1806 Gardiner

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