Sports pavilions hit by metal thieves

Metal thieves have struck at five Hitchin sports pavilions, stripping out copper and smashing facilities, leaving the taxpayer with thousands to pay.

The pavilions at Cadwell Lane, Swinburne Avenue, St John’s Road, Walsworth Road and Ransoms Rec were all hit over the last four weeks. North Herts District Council estimates the damage at between �15,000 and �30,000.

Damage included forced doors, ripped out copper piping and boilers, smashed sinks and toilets and spray-painted graffiti.

Alan Lowe, president of the Hitchin Sunday Football League which manages the pavilions on behalf of the council, said it was the high price of copper that had attracted the thieves.

“It’s just so frustrating,” he said. “They have stolen copper piping and even the hot water cylinders. I would think it is the same people.”

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Asked about the impact on the community, a council spokesman said: “The pavilions are out of action until they are repaired. However as it is not the football season so at present there is no demand for their use.

She continued: “Ransom’s pavilion is in the process of being renovated with an investment of �120,000 which was planned before the break-in and damage. Cadwell wasn’t used last year due to the condition of the pitch and we are organising works to repair the damage and improve the pitch for the forthcoming football season. Swinburne pavilion has already been repaired and is good to go.

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“At Walsworth Common and St John’s Pavilions attempts were made to gain access but were unsuccessful and repairs have been completed at both locations.”

Police are investigating the incidents.

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