YOUNG footballers have been left “heartbroken” after a break-in caused about £1,000-worth of damage at a thriving club.
Seaham Coast Football Club, which has 11 youth teams and players ranging from three to 16 years old, had a container broken into last week.
Among the items stolen were a generator, water boiler, bain-marie and footballs, while even crisps and sweets were taken.
Much of the equipment had recently been bought by the club after fund-raising efforts.
The £1,000 container is based on a field in New Drive, Seaham, which is nicknamed “Wembley”.
Four of the club’s teams play at the venue, and chairman Tom Thynne reported the break-in to the police after discovering the damage on Thursday evening.
Mr Thynne, 34, said: “I went there on Thursday for training, and the lock had been cut off, with the doors prized open.
“It’s heartbreaking for everyone at the club that somebody could just come along, break in and take all of that.
“We’ve only had the container for about two months, and we spent £1,000 on it.
“We’ll now have to spend money on it to make it secure, which is another expense, and we’re a club which relies on fund-raising to be successful.
“Whoever did this are scumbags. The things inside the container weren’t of huge value – probably about £1,000 overall – but that’s not the point.
“They even took the bairns’ sweets and about £23 of change, and the only thing they left was the goals and the nets.”
The break-in is thought to have taken place between 7.30pm on Tuesday and 5pm on Thursday, and Durham Police are investigating.
Mr Thynne is now hoping the expense of the break-in does not affect plans to take players from the club – which was formed about two years ago – to a tournament on the continent.
He added: “We always do fund-raising, and we want to save up and take the kids away to a tournament abroad. I just hope this doesn’t impact on that.
“We were recognised by the county council when we won Club of the Year last year, but I don’t do it for publicity or anything like that. I do it for the kids.
“One girl from our club has gone on to play for Sunderland, and we have a few kids being watched by Newcastle United and Hartlepool.
“We’re still quite a new club, so we haven’t got a clubhouse, and it’s so angering that someone could do this.”