'It won't stop us' - Letchworth rugby club defiant after clubhouse damaged and charity boxes stolen in break-in
PUBLISHED: 08:31 14 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:54 14 January 2016
A rugby club with big plans for the future has refused to let pre-match burglars dampen their spirits.
Thieves broke into Letchworth Rugby Club on Friday evening and made off with money from charity boxes intended for the Garden House Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Wooden Spoon Society, as well as four bottles of champagne.
Police are investigating the incident which is believed to have taken place between 4.30pm on Friday and 9.30am on Saturday.
The offenders ripped open steel doors to break into the back of the clubhouse, which was refurbished 18 months ago.
Despite the clear up operation and damage costs – which could run up to £7,000 – the club is determined to kick the burglary into the touch, but it was impossible not to be left rankled after the charity cash was swiped.
Chairman Chris Lunnon said: “It’s one thing stealing money from the kitchen, but the sort of lowlifes that would steal charity boxes...
“There was damage to the doors, windows and shutters but it won’t stop us.
“It’s a credit to the girls that the day after the break-in they were preparing food for 50 people for our pre-match meal.
“They only had a few hours and even had police officers doing forensic tests around them while they were preparing it.
“The players were all happy to play, despite what had happened.
“After our 14-15 loss to Brentwood on Saturday the opposing team said: ‘You’ve been done in twice now’.
“But we laughed because that is what we are all about and we will carry on regardless.”
And the Legends Lane club has every reason to be optimistic for 2016 after a Christmas gift of £75,000 from Sport England was awarded to give a facelift to their changing rooms.
Work will start at the end of the season ready for the beginning of next year’s campaign.
The car park – described by president Brian Burke as a ‘flooded war zone’ – will be having a £200,000 upgrade so that it can be used by the club, North Herts Leisure Centre and Letchworth Garden City Eagles Football Club.
The hope is that the floodlit car park – which will have CCTV installed on it – will act as a deterrent to burglars.
Brian said “Another resounding success story has been the ‘Return To Rugby’ initiative.
“We are one of 50 clubs throughout the country chosen by the RFU to trial this and have had upwards of 35 players playing tag rugby on a Tuesday night.
“But maybe most significant over this season has been the development of the Bravehert section – rugby for people with learning disabilities.
“Nick Winwood and his team must be heartily congratulated on the awards that they have received from the union and acknowledgement that they are the trail blazers in the whole of the country.”
Anyone who has any information about the burglary should call the police non-emergency number 101