Hitchin community centre suffers first burglary in its history

Chairperson Derek Sheard outside St Michael's Mount Community Centre

Chairperson Derek Sheard outside St Michael's Mount Community Centre - Credit: Archant

The chairman of a busy Hitchin community centre says he’s surprised and disappointed after the first burglary in the building’s history.

The intruders who broke into the St Michael’s Mount Community Centre on St Michael’s Road on Thursday night only escaped with a few pounds, but left behind them a hefty bill to pay for repairs.

Community association chairman Derek Sheard said: “Someone smashed a window and crawled into the building before they went upstairs looking for money.

“I’m really surprised and filled with disappointment at what has happened.

“I know these things happen and we’ll take it on the chin, tidy up the damage and move on – but this place is used an awful lot by the community around here, and people in general care about it because the chances are they will have used it for a family or community event at some stage in the past.

“It’s never been broken into in three decades since it was built back in 1984 – so I’m a bit saddened someone thought fit to break in.

“It’s not so much the cash they took from our float – it’s the damage the thieves caused.

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“We never hold much money in the centre as people don’t seem to pay for things by cash any more, but there was quite a bit of mess caused inside the building which is a real shame.

“This building hosts a lot of good things in our community and I’d be very surprised if those who broke in were from our community.

“Last Thursday night was a strange night what with the coincidence of the Sailor Boy burning down, too – although I can’t imagine the break-in here is in any way connected.

“I’d also like to say a big thank you to council staff for their prompt response in minimising any convenience to our users.”

Police say the break-in happened between 9.45pm last Thursday and 7am the following morning.

A spokesman said: “The offenders smashed a window at the front and searched the building. An office door was forced open and £20 stolen. Substantial damage was caused to a window and two doors.”​ Call police on 101 with information.

The centre is holding its annual meeting on Tuesday from 8pm.