The continued popularity of metal among criminal gangs hit home again this week after thieves broke into and ransacked the clubrooms of one of Longford town’s most established voluntary-run organisations.
Club members and officials from locally based soccer club, Longford Wanderer’s were left stunned by the sight which confronted them last Tuesday evening (September 11) when it emerged vandals had struck at their premises just off the Strokestown Road.
During the course of the raid, which club representatives believe occurred sometime on Monday night, burglars ripped a copper cylinder from the clubhouse wall, causing flood damage to its kitchen and dressing room areas.
Just over a week on, local organisers headed by its secretary Anne Kelly, are still coming to terms with the ordeal.
“What we know is that it happened on Monday evening sometime because we got the call at around 5pm saying the place was done (burgled). You can see for yourself what’s left. They (raiders) busted through the front door and came back out through the window,” she said.
Founded around 30 years ago, last Monday’s break-in represents the first time the club has fallen foul to criminal activity.
Ms Kelly said the incident has been especially difficult to accept given the value of what was taken together with the club’s autonomous status.
“The cylinder that was taken, we got a price on it since and have been told that it’s going for to cost €850 to replace. They are going for €50 in the scrapyard which more or less means these people broke in for only €50. It’s so upsetting to see this and the damage that has been left especially when all the work that goes on here is voluntary,” she said.
In a further insight, the Wanderer’s club secretary said she believed those responsible knew exactly what they were looking for.
“It’s someone that knows the run of the place because they came in purely for that. If it wasnt’ why didn’t they try the referee’s room that has been locked from the year dot? They also didn’t bother to break the lock on the gate outside and climbed over the wall instead. That’s why we think there had to be more than one person involved. How else would you be able to lift yourself and a cylinder over a wall?”
Besides her obvious upset and the almost inevitably high clean-up bill that will follow, Ms Kelly revealed the club has been hanicapped even further by last Monday’s raid.
“We can’t play games at home now because of all of this,” she dispondently added. “Our pitch is insured but our clubhouse isn’t. We have public liability but that doesn’t cover the clubhouse. The club is going 30 years or so now and we have never had this kind of thing happen to us.”