POLICE are pledging to increase patrols at a community which has been persistently targeted by a group of thieves and vandals.
Norley Hall Cricket Club has been broken into three times recently, with thieves getting away with a strimmer, while vandals have smashed a small window at St Francis Church in City Road, Kitt Green.
It is not known whether the offences are all connected, but David Wood, chairman of the cricket club, believes the thefts may be linked to other burglaries from clubs further afield.
He said: “There have been a spate of burglaries at cricket clubs in Dalton and Bolton, where equipment has been stolen, so I suspect thieves are targeting cricket clubs.
“Luckily the strimmer was one of our cheaper items and they did not take much else.
“But we have also had some slates broken off above our changing rooms, but we are not sure if this is from other youngsters playing on our roofs.”
Rev Roland Harvey, of St Francis Church, said: “A small window was smashed where our basement lies, but the gap is too small for someone to get through, so I could not say if it was a deliberate attempt to break in.
“It has been three or four years since we had a real break in and that time there was internal damage to the doors.
“Safety is our main concern as youths are climbing onto the roof.”
Coun Jeanette Prescott said: “We have been in touch with the police and we are fast tracking our Brighter Borough money to install cameras in order to catch vandals and thieves. There have been about two or three break-ins at the cricket club.
“The thieves managed to steal a strimmer one time and tried to get a lawn mower over the wall another time, but could not and so now it is broken.
“Hopefully if they come back we will have the cameras installed and we can catch them.
“The vandalism and thefts are just not stopping and something needs to be done.”
Phil James, neighbourhood inspector for Pemberton, said: “Burglaries are something we take as a priority for the neighbourhood and we have been working with councillors Paul and Jeanette Prescott to look at installing cameras.
“We have also increased patrols in the area.”