BOSSES at a dog track were forced to cancel a race night after metal thieves ripped out power cables, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.
Easington Greyhound Stadium had to scrap its 10-race programme on Wednesday after around 360ft of armoured copper cable leading to the arena, along with other metal, was taken from its substation.
Staff at the track are now working hard to ensure Sunday’s night racing goes ahead.
Joe Atkinson, who runs the stadium with wife Carol, two full-time workers and six part time staff, has been told the repair bill so far stands at £8,000 – all for cable with scrap value of around £400.
The cost will not be picked up by insurers, leaving the Atkinsons forced to pay it out of their pockets.
Joe, who has run the site for the last 17 years, said: “They’re scum, that’s what I’d describe them as.”
He added his wife’s support during the last few days had helped see him through the ordeal and praised the team for their efforts to get the operation running again.
The Atkinsons thought a fuse had blown when they arrived at the stadium on Tuesday morning and found the fridge in the canteen was off and then discovered the buildings had no power.
When they were told by their power supplier there was not, fault checks found the damage.
The thieves began to hack through a live cable, which started to melt and it is thought they then managed to work out where to cut off the supply to the whole system. Part of the difficulties the owners have faced in reinstating the supply have been caused because the ageing equipment is no longer in production.
Further damage would have been caused had the thieves been able to gain access to the stadium grounds and tear up more cable.
It is believed the theft may have happened between 9.30pm and 11pm on Monday as family members living nearby reported their guard dog barking.
The stadium attracts about 750 punters a week. Updates on Sunday’s racing will be posted on the stadium’s website, www.easingtondogs.co.uk
Anyone with information which could help the police is asked to contact Durham Police on 0345 6060365 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.