AS the exodus of 25,000 Wembley-bound Sunderland fans began today, Sunderland police appealed to the travellers and the tens of thousands of stay-at homes who will be watching the game on television not to let this great day become a field day – for burglars.
Lock up your homes and keep an eye on your property, was the warning given by Chief Insp. Edward Smith. “We expect the majority of Sunderland residents who are not going to Wembley to be watching television, and probably in groups,” he said.
“Wherever you get groups like this there is always the danger that property left empty could be the target for thieves.
“Between 2pm and 6pm tomorrow we think most people will be busy watching television, and this could be an ideal time for sneak thieves to attack property.
“So we give a friendly warning to people that while they are watching television to give some thought to the security of their homes,” said Chief Insp. Smith.
Many shops in the town are closing early tomorrow so their staff can watch the Cup Final, and they, too, should take normal security precautions.
Travelling fans leaving empty homes behind them for the week-end should make sure the house is safely locked up.
“Times of excitement like this always provide some opportunity for thieves, and there will probably be some who will try something tomorrow,” said Chief Insp. Smith.
Police are expecting the town centre to be a “ghost town” from about 11am onwards. “We think most housewives will be doing their shopping today, and we think the town will be empty for most of tomorrow morning and afternoon,” he said.
“Here we come Lads”
In the van of the great exodus from Wearside today were the wives and girl friends of Sunderland players. They are pictured about to leave in their special coach. Left to right are: front row – Margaret Young, Joy Montgomery, Linda Hughes, Brenda Willis, Cathryn Kerr, Isobel Guthrie, Angela Pitt. Middle row – a clothing representative who supplied the uniforms, Rosalind Malone and Isobel Porterfield; back row – Jean Halom and Jean Stokoe.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on May 4, 1973.