Raiders are being hunted by police for a break-in at a borough football club which caused considerable damage.
The burglars only stole petty cash, but the clearing-up and repair costs are a major headache for Atherton Laburnum Rovers.
The clubhouse at its Crilly Park base was broken into overnight last weekend, with the raiders smashing two holes in the roof to get in.
Damage was caused to the men’s toilets and the main bar area but the offenders only got away with coinage totalling about £12.
The raid was discovered at the Spa Road club on the morning of Monday, June 19 and officials voiced anger and disappointment that it had been targeted.
Chair Jane Wilcox said: “They’ve caused quite a bit of damage in the toilets and the bar, there’s a big hole in the ceiling of the bar and it’s all down in the men’s toilets.
“They must have come in from the toilets, realised they hadn’t got far enough in and then gone into the bar area.
“It’s just so frustrating, I wish they would just leave us alone. It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened.
“All they’ve taken is the small change left in the till, approximately £12 if that. We’re just devastated. People give their time up for absolutely nothing here and we’re just a small local football club, struggling like a lot of them.
“Volunteers had to come down here and spend time on a beautiful day trying to fix it.
“The only saving grace of it is that we’ve had no party bookings recently because it’s the end of the football season, so in terms of impact it’s not been too bad.
“We just need to make sure it’s as secure as we can possibly get it now. The club can’t open properly with it like it is and the new season will be starting soon.”
The club managed to get people to come and make the venue secure again this week so Atherton LR’s presentation night can go ahead this weekend.
The police were called last Monday but the club found the burglars had not touched anything behind the bar other than the money which had been taken.
The break-in happened some time between the evening of Sunday June 18, when the clubhouse was left locked and secured, and Monday morning when the damage was discovered.
Atherton LR play in the North West Counties League and the club also operates a number of junior sides.