A JUNIOR football team has been left devastated after callous thieves stole hundreds of pounds worth of equipment.
Footballs and other expensive equipment belonging to Hartlepool side Golden Flatts Juniors FC was stolen from a storage unit in Greatham.
The thieves took 30 footballs, two pumps and even first aid boxes worth between £400 to £500 in the break-in.
Club chairman Jimmy Costello discovered the crime at the unit in Station Road, Greatham, last Wednesday after locking up as normal the previous night.
He said: “I was devastated. All the hard work you put in and it’s all been taken away. It is just a step back.
“All the kids are disappointed. We will have to go and do a sponsored walk or charity night or something to get the balls and other stuff back.”
Much of the equipment that was stolen had been paid for with £600 raised by generous parents at a recent presentation night.
It is the second time the unit has been broken into in the last six months, though nothing was taken last time.
Players’ also pay £8 a month in subs to help run the club’s seven junior teams.
Golden Flatts play and train at Greatham Sports Field having previously been based at Golden Flatts Primary School.
Their new season kicks off in around two weeks time.
Jimmy added: “The break-in won’t affect our matches, it is just our training.
“We will have to use old balls because we haven’t got the money for new ones.”
A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “A lock-up where the football club keep their equipment was broken into between August 14 and 15.”
Anybody with information is asked to contact police on the non
emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.