Anger as thief flouts lockdown to smash way into North Staffordshire cricket club by hurling paving slab through window


Police are hunting a thief who flouted lockdown to smash their way into a North Staffordshire cricket club.

A paving slab was hurled through the window of Betley Cricket Club under the cover of darkness.

The burglar then swiped a WiFi router and a sound bar from the windowsill before fleeing the scene.

Now club chairman, Philip Hesketh, has vowed to step up security following the break-in, which is believed to have taken place on Friday night or in the early hours of Saturday morning.

He said: “The remnants of the slab were all over the floor.

“It’s not the biggest crime in the world in terms of value – around £150 – but it’s the inconvenience and the police time wasted.

Glass on the floor of Betley Cricket Club

“We’d only put those items on the windowsill because, before all this happened, a group of apprentices were renovating the club.

“Our volunteers have now had to come in and clean up the mess and we’ve also had to get someone come in to board up the window and a glazier is coming this week.

“It only takes one idiot to cause a lot of inconvenience in the first place.

“If whoever has done this had come to us to ask if they could do a couple of odd jobs to earn some money, I’m sure we could have come up with something.

“Fortunately, thanks to the power of social media, a company has offered to fix the window for free which is the one good thing to come out of this.

“The generosity of people is really quite something, especially with everything that’s going on at the moment. We’ve also had a lot of messages of support.”

Philip revealed it is not the first time the club has been targeted.

Philip Hesketh

He added: “A couple of years ago a similar thing happened but the perpetrator climbed through the window  and tried to take the contents of the bar.

“We do have an alarm but we’re now looking to improve security and get CCTV.

“Cricket isn’t being played at the moment and the season was supposed to start next week.

“There’s only 20 weeks of the year where we can get income so something like this can have a knock-on effect.

“There are a lot of small clubs like ours, whether it’s cricket, football or anything else, and a £200 repair bill can really set you back.

“When we get out of this we want to make sure that clubs like ours survive and we can continue to offer cricket for generations in the future.”

Staffordshire Police are now appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 273 of April 11.





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