THIEVES ripped out a Moray football club’s shower units, before scrubbing away any evidence with bleach and showing the crime scene a clean pair of heels.
Fed-up officials of Burghead Thistle Juniors say it is the fourth time in around four years they have been targeted by criminals, leaving the tiny junior club to foot the bill.
Copper pipes, kitbags, boardroom alcohol stocks, tea urns and even tea bags have been stolen from the club’s Forest Park ground in the past.
But committee member Karen Grant says last week’s break-in was the worst the club has experienced yet, with the damage costing an estimated £3,000.
“We’re a wee club trying to make ends meet, doing the best we can and we just keep getting kicked in the teeth,” she said.
“They don’t realise it’s us who have to pick up the pieces. They came well prepared this time, they had cutters with them and they cleaned up after them,
“There’s 12 showers in total and they took them all the units and the controls – even the pipes. Then they sprayed bleach all over the showers and brushed it all in, so all their DNA was gone.”
Police are appealing for witnesses to the latest break-in, which took place between Tuesday (January 16) and Thursday morning last week.
As a result of the break-in, both club dressing rooms have been rendered unusable and left the club with a race against time to install new showers in time for their next match.
“People tell us we’ve got one of the best facilities in junior football and I tell them it takes a lot of money and time to keep this place,” Karen said.
“But we keep getting targeted. I think that’s four incidents in last three or four years, with a variety of things taken. Pretty much anything they could get their hands on.
“We’ve had enough really. We keep thinking ‘can they not leave us alone?’ but it keeps happening.
Karen said the ground was checked by a fellow member last Tuesday morning and everything was OK. By the time she entered the clubhouse on Thursday, she saw club kit scattered around and knew something had happened.
“At first I thought it was just the crisps and juice that was pinched, but when the police went into the home dressing room, all the showers were gone. They had taken the basics as well, even the coffee and teabags.
“One of the times before, they broke in the boardroom and took the drink so we can’t leave that in there anymore. Now it will be even worse because we’re going to have to take absolutely everything out now, no matter what. We can’t afford to keep spending out.”
Club officials are unsure how the latest crime will affect their insurance, but estimate the bill will come to at least £3,000 including the labour involved in re-fitting all the showers.
Last year, a would-be thief was caught by police on the premises as she tried to steal alcohol and make a run for it. That incident still left the club with damaged items, including trophies.
If they are unable to install new showers in time for their next home match against Forres Thistle on February 1, Burghead will be forced to play at another ground, at a likely cost of £150.
Anyone with information on this incident, or if they have been offered copper piping or shower control units for sale, should contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.