'Dark cloud' left over Northamptonshire football club after Â£30,000 burglary
A Northamptonshire football club has issued a plea for donations after thieves stole Â£30,000 of high value equipment.
Bugbrooke St Michaels Football Club has been left to pick up the pieces after tractors, mowers and generators were stolen from their grounds this week - leaving future games in jeopardy.
Thieves accesed the site from Camp Hill using bolt cutters on the gates and locks between 9.30pm on September 4 and 9am on September 5, before volunteers arrived to the devastation on Wednesday morning.
Bugbrooke is a grassroots amateur club with four adult men's teams and 18 youth sides, from under six. The teams, and pitches, are all managed and run by volunteers.
Player assistant manager for the men's first team, Daniel Porter said: "In total it values just over Â£30,000. We have had generators stolen, which help us in the winter months when the players are out the back. It helps to light up the flood lights.
"We have 22 teams - they all train at the ground and we have five or six football pitches that need to be cut and marked out.
"Without that it puts the games into jeopardy and games will have to be called off.
"It's been a nightmare."
After hearing the news this week, Mr Porter set up a Go Fund Me page to raise Â£1,000 for his club in a bid to improve their security camera systems and make parents, players and volunteers feel safer.
Since September 6, Â£145 has been raised by eight fundraisers - but the club is still a long way from achieving its goal.
Mr Porter said the news has been heartbreaking for the volunteers.
"They give so much of their time up going to the ground in the mornings and for this to happen to the club is a real setback," he said.
"It's our 90th year as a football club this year, we wanted the village to have a celebration. Now this has a knock-on effect.
"We don't have much money and this puts more pressure on the volunteers...but we won't be defeated."
A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire Police confirmed that the force received a report of a burglary between 9.30pm on September 4 and 9am on September 5 where high value equipment was stolen.
Anyone with any information can contact Northamptonshire Police on 101. Alternatively, they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.