FEARS have been raised about the future of Colne Cricket Club after thieves targeted it for the third time in a fortnight.
Over the past week the Byron Road venue has been twice more hit by thieves.
And this follows a raid earlier this month in which a television, money and a set of keys were taken.
There was a failed break-in attempt on Sunday and then on Monday evening an intruder managed to gain access to the downstairs of the club and steal spirits from the bar.
The front door to the venue has had to be left boarded up, and a window has been smashed, pushing club members to the “end of their tether”.
An emergency meeting of the club committee is now planned for next Thursday.
Dan Sunderland, who has been the steward at club for the past 19 months, told the Colne Times that CCTV footage had been handed to police and urged anybody with any information about the break-ins to come forward.
He said: “The club is in a financial struggle as it is, and this is not helping one bit.
“They have taken the window out and broken in. They have smashed their way into the downstairs of the club, where they have taken all the spirits.
“We look like something out of a war film. People need to be caught.”
The club is reliant on people using the venue for events at weekends. Now, due to the damage caused from the three incidents, the financial pressure on the club’s committee is said to be “crippling”.
Chairman Trevor Lonsdale said: “How long can we go on like this? It’s costing a lot of money – it’s crippling us.”
And committee member Nigel Rimmer, who said the club was now 95% driven by volunteers, said: “We’re having a rough run. Police are trying their level best, and thank you to them.
“It’s just sickening. We must be on speed dial with the insurance company.
“Everybody is putting their spare time and efforts into this club, but we are not generating enough money to cover this level of repair costs. We are at death’s door with money.
“We are here for the community and that’s the thing that really hurts.”
Also supporting the appeal to trace the offender or offenders is Coun. Joe Cooney, who said: “Voluntary sport clubs like Colne Cricket Club contribute a huge amount to the local community.
“This constant wilful damage and disregard for the work done by the many volunteers is unacceptable and those who are responsible should be caught and dealt with appropriately.”
Colne Cricket Club has recently reached the end of a three year sponsorship deal, and the committee is now looking for a new main sponsor to step forward.
To show your interest in sponsoring the club ring 863183.
l Police are investigating all three incidents, and have issued a warning to other isolated clubs in the area.
Anybody with any information can call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.