Thetford Football Club chairman “angry and fed up” after clubhouse targeted by thieves who caused damage

Thetford Football Club.

Thetford Football Club. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

The chairman of Thetford Town Football Club has said he feels sick and angry after the clubhouse was broken into and extensive damage caused.

The damage left at Thetford Football Club after the clubhouse was broken into. Picture: Nigel Armes

The damage left at Thetford Football Club after the clubhouse was broken into. Picture: Nigel Armes - Credit: Archant

Thieves targeted the football club and forced entry into the building by wedging a door open before using a crowbar to open a till, which was empty.

Cupboards have been damaged and alcohol and tools stolen.

The damage left at Thetford Football Club after the clubhouse was broken into. Bottles of alcohol we

The damage left at Thetford Football Club after the clubhouse was broken into. Bottles of alcohol were taken. Picture: Nigel Armes - Credit: Archant

The culprits also decided to scatter the football kit, which had been stored in bags, around the building.

Chairman Nigel Armes said the club had not had a disturbance for 'years and years' before the incident, which took place at some point on Wednesday, May 17.

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The damage left at Thetford Football Club after the clubhouse was broken into.The till was forced op

The damage left at Thetford Football Club after the clubhouse was broken into.The till was forced open with a crowbar but no cash was inside. Picture: Nigel Armes - Credit: Archant

Members of the football club did not know the break-in had taken place until the Thursday, and it was then reported to the police.

Mr Armes said: 'The whole place runs on volunteers. It is not easy these days. People have to have the checks and they give up their time to get these. And then you get mindless people who ruin the work people do.

'It makes you feel sick because you do things for nothing and someone does this to try and get a few quid.

'It makes you feel that your efforts to provide a community place are undermined. I'm angry and fed up but you have to carry on.'

The damage left at Thetford Football Club after the clubhouse was broken into. Picture: Nigel Armes

The damage left at Thetford Football Club after the clubhouse was broken into. Picture: Nigel Armes - Credit: Archant

Mr Armes, who has been the chairman at the club - which dates back to 1883 - for four years, has estimated the damage at between £1,000 and £1,500.

'They squeezed through a very small hole by wedging a door open at the bottom,' he said. 'Someone was determined to get in. They took what they could.

https://twitter.com/ThetfordTownFC/status/866281396779831297

'The kits were in bags and they took them out and strewn them all over the place. I don't know why they did that.

'They used a crowbar to open the till which had nothing in. We never leave cash in there over night.

'The worrying thing was they broke into some of the sheds which we keep some of our equipment in.'

He added: 'Unfortunately the damage is greater than what they stole. There was nothing in there for them to take.'

Norfolk police have said they currently investigating the incident.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Norfolk police on 101. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

New clubhouse hope

Despite the negativity of the burglary the football club does have some positives to focus on.

A planning application to build a new clubhouse and to renovate the current building have been accepted.

The current facility, which was built in the 1950s by a team of supporters, is said to have 'seen better days.'

It will be renovated and used to house the changing rooms.

The club are now awaiting the decision - which will be made in June - on a £100,00 grant from the Football Foundation.

If they get the grant, the £300,000 project will start in September.

Mr Armes said the club have received grants from Norfolk County Council, Breckland Council and private donations.

He said: 'We will have a whole new clubhouse with a bar and function room which will treble the space we have got at the minute.

'It will not just be for football. It will be a function room for the community.'

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