Young footballers left in the dark after thieves swipe floodlights

Youth football teams from Fulwell have been left in the dark following the theft of floodlights the youngsters and their parents fundraised to buy. Team managers Darren Oxlade and Kristen Whitfield with some of the players.

Youth football teams from Fulwell have been left in the dark following the theft of floodlights the youngsters and their parents fundraised to buy. Team managers Darren Oxlade and Kristen Whitfield with some of the players.

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FOOTBALL-MAD youngsters have been left heartbroken after cruel thieves stole the sports equipment they raised money to buy.

Fulwell FC’s members, who play in the Russell Foster Youth League, took part in a range of sponsored events to buy rechargeable wireless floodlights, worth more than £1,000, for their pitches, off Newcastle Road.

Somebody knew to remove the lights from their stands and knew that light was broken.

David Johnson

However, they arrived on Thursday night to discover the equipment store had been broken into overnight.

Jamie-Lea Church’s son Jaxon, nine, is one of the youngsters who raised cash to pay for the stolen equipment.

The lights had been stored in a steel container which was broken into sometime between Wednesday and Thursday evenings, said Jamie-Lea.

“It looks like they have used some sort of industrial saw to cut a square hole right through the side of the container, then climbed inside and pulled everything out,” said 29-year-old Jamie-Lea

“They have tried to get through the door first and have knocked one of the hinges off.

“When they have been unable to get in that way, they have gone in through the side of the container.

“The pitches were in regular use and the storage container was next to the car park, so there was no way anyone could have missed the theft if it had happened any earlier.

“It was when we turned up for training at half-past five on Thursday that we discovered what happened.

“We train on a Tuesday and a Thursday, but there are all ages in the club, so there are other teams up there every day and our chairman David Johnson checks the container regularly.

“We park right next to the container, so if it had happened any earlier, everyone would have seen it.”

David Johnson said he believed the thieves had known precisely what they were after.

“They took five lights and the chargers, which were stored in a different place,” he said.

“There was a sixth, broken light that was in the corner of the store and that has not been touched.

“Somebody knew to remove the lights from their stands and knew that light was broken.

“The mini-football goals had been dismantled and were in bags – they are worth a couple of hundred pounds each, but the bags had not even been touched.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.