Cash-strapped centre targeted by vandals days after rescue bid launched

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CASH that was raised to help save a threatened youth club will now be needed for repairs after a senseless vandal attack.

Four glass panels were smashed on Wednesday night at the Belle Vue Community Sports & Youth Centre, in Hartlepool.

Three of the glass panels broken in the attack

Three of the glass panels broken in the attack

The attack came on the same day the Mail featured a story about kind-hearted residents’ efforts to raise cash over the weekend with sponsored bungee jumps to keep its youth club running.

But instead of using that much-needed cash on securing the future of the club, bosses are now faced with a hefty repair bill after the vandal attack.

Gordon Larkin, the Kendal Road centre’s manager, said it was a “mindless” attack.

Police are now investigating the incident.

Mr Larkin said: “This has been a mindless person who was probably drunk and doesn’t even live in the area so doesn’t care.

“We are trying to save the youth club and the community centre and we still need to keep that going and have people’s support.

“We won’t stop because of a bit of broken glass.

“People have worked really, really hard and will continue to work hard in the future.

“This is a dampener on things, but we are still here and we will fight even harder to keep everything going.”

Hundreds of people had turned up on Saturday to watch 40 brave fundraisers jump 160ft from a crane to rake in sponsor money.

They managed to raise £1,500 with a variety of stalls, tombolas and raffles also adding to the fund.

The community day came a fortnight after staff members dived into the sea at Seaton Carew as part of a Valentine’s Day dip, which raised £500.

Mr Larkin said that between £15,000 and £20,000 needs to be raised to secure the future of the club for a year.

The club provides activities for around 250 people aged five to 19 years old.

Police are appealing for help in catching those responsible for the overnight attack.

Three large windows and a small window were broken at the premises.

PC Jim Blackwell said: “This centre is extremely popular with the local community and this incident has caused distress and upset for its many users.

“It’s a shame that someone felt the need to target a centre that is doing everything possible to maintain the services it offers throughout the current financial climate.

“We are taking the incident seriously and I would appeal to anyone with any information or any witnesses to contact me.”

Anyone with any information can ring PC Blackwell on (01642) 302178 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.