AN ASHINGTON sports club was left with a huge clean-up bill after thieves broke in and caused thousands of pounds worth of water damage.
Ashington Rugby Club is potentially looking at costs of £15-16,000 to fix the water damage after thieves broke into the changing rooms at night and ripped out copper piping for scrap.
Members who opened up the next morning were met by a wave of water out of the door and flooding. The ceilings came down and much of the contents of the kitchen and tea room may have to be thrown away.
The extensive damage has caused problems not only for the rugby club but also the many groups that use the facilities. The cricket club may face “grave consequences” for the start of its season, while the disabled archery club and junior football team had to be put on hold.
The rugby club could not afford to miss out on Saturday’s match, which annually raises vital funds when sponsors bring along 100 guests – yet they were only able to continue thanks to the generosity of nearby schools which allowed them use their buildings and showers.
Treasurer Garry Newman said: “It’s despicable. They don’t think of the consequences. I don’t know how much copper piping is, but they’ve got no thought to what they’ve left behind. We’re a small, local, community rugby club.
“They removed all the copper piping for the plumbing and heating system and left the water running into the ceiling overnight.
“They walked in and found 4ins of water right the way through, gushing out of the doors. They spent all day tidying up the water.
“We’ll have to replace the ceilings and pipe work, the electrics and light fittings and replaster throughout the whole building – seven to eight changing rooms, a tea room and kitchen.
“We’re waiting on a quote and had the insurers assessors round, but we’re looking at £15-16,000.
“It’s worrying because it’s becoming more and more of a trend – people out to see what they can get.”
The break-in happened between 9.30pm on Thursday, March 17 and 8.30am on the next day. Mr Newman said the club had also been targeted in the past.
The club has now called for members to pull together and use their “great team spirt” to avoid letting the incident destroy what they have built up over the years.