Thieves steal tombola ahead of prize draw in Reepham

The Bircham Centre's tombola raffle drum has been stolen. Inside the charity shop is administrator G

The Bircham Centre's tombola raffle drum has been stolen. Inside the charity shop is administrator Gill Wheatley. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Staff at a long-established community centre have been left disappointed after thieves stole a tombola drum filled with neatly-folded raffle tickets for a forthcoming draw.

Retailers across Reepham last week came together for a late-night shopping event. As part of the evening, the Bircham Centre in the Market Place held a raffle to raise funds for the continued conservation of the historic community building.

All the businesses had contributed prizes and the raffle raised £258. Less than 24 hours after the tickets had been collected, however, the metal tombola drum, in which all the folded tickets were kept, disappeared.

It had been left in the centre's kitchen, where it had been in the days leading up to the event, and was taken at some point during last Thursday afternoon – the day before the prize draw was due to take place.

Now, raffle organisers are urging anyone who bought tickets to take their stubs into the centre in time for a new draw on November 13.

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Centre administrator Gill Wheatley said: 'It's extremely disappointing because we had worked so incredibly hard and the retailers had donated some fantastic prizes.

'A lot of effort went into the whole event and I was looking forward to calling people on Friday and telling them they had won a prize.

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'The most important thing now is to get the message out as wide as possible to let people who had bought a ticket know that if they have still got their stubs for them to write their name and number on the back and to drop them into us.'

Mrs Wheatley said the kitchen was left open for members of the public to use for teas and coffees and to buy books. Since the tombola drum was taken, she has put notices up all over the town to let people know what has happened.

She said: 'We are open on the basis of trust; we have always been and will always be. We weren't expecting someone to walk off with a tombola drum.'

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