KIND-HEARTED charity fund-raisers were targeted twice in one night by thieves over the Bank Holiday weekend.
A family fun day and 24-hour sponsored ball pass event, organised by Orrell St James under-sevens rugby league team, was marred by the double attack in the middle of the night.
The event was taking place at Newfold Primary School, in Orrell, and the incidents occurred after the fund-raisers were forced to move indoors due to the rain.
Thieves first struck some time before 11.30pm, ransacking the five tents standing in a field and stealing a mobile phone, a pair of trainers and around £60 in cash.
They also dragged one of the tents into woodland adjoining the school fields before abandoning it.
The charity team, which was trying to raise money to build new changing rooms and a kitchen at the club’s playing fields, were then astonished to find themselves victims of a second theft, when head coach Mike Horrocks discovered at around 4am that the tent which had previously been moved had now vanished completely.
Mike, 39, said: “It definitely left a bitter taste in quite a few people’s mouths. We didn’t hear anything at all, we just went outside at around half past 11 and the tent with my kids’ sleeping bags and cuddly toys in had gone.
“Every tent had been entered and they’d gone through all the bags. We made a search of the school while someone contacted the police and found the tent with a pair of discarded trainers.
“I then went out for some fresh air in the middle of the night and the same tent had been stolen again. They’d also scattered two full bin bags of rubbish which we had piled up ready for leaving in the morning all over the school field.
“Quite a few of the children were scared by the incidents, and it made everyone a bit nervous during the night.”
Mike says he believes the thieves entered the site over a fence from a footpath which connects the playing fields of Newfold Primary School and Up Holland High School.
He is now appealing for anyone who knows anything about the thefts to contact the police.
He said: “To be honest, quite a few people were in tears. We’re trying to raise money to make things better for the community and it’s such a shame when it’s marred by something like this.
“It’s completely mindless, as though they were trying to deliberately upset people, and for them to come back a second time is just outrageous.”
Greater Manchester Police are investigating the thefts. Anyone with information can contact the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.