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Thieves strikes on scout hut

PUBLISHED: 17:30 08 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:09 03 March 2010

CUBS and brownies reeling from the theft of essential camping equipment today faced the devastating news their scout hut had been broken into - again.

Not only are 1st Claydon Scouts facing a camp free New Year, after vandals stole tents worth £1,400, but now they need to raise yet more money for repairs.

CUBS and brownies reeling from the theft of essential camping equipment today faced the devastating news their scout hut had been broken into – again.

Not only are 1st Claydon Scouts facing a camp free New Year, after vandals stole tents worth £1,400, but now they need to raise yet more money for repairs.

Vandals broke into the scout hut on Thornhill Road, late on Wednesday night after the Beavers' meeting.

Leader Maggie Bashford said: "They didn't take anything but they made a mess. One of them also must have cut themselves because some bloodstains were found which the police will use as evidence."

Just over a week earlier thieves used power tools to smash into nearby lock ups before making off with tents.

Camping plans over the Christmas break may be cancelled unless the cash-strapped First Claydon Scout group can borrow tents.

It's already a tough time for the 160-strong group, made up of scouts, brownies, cubs and rainbows from around Ipswich, as they try to raise money for a new scout hut.

Scout leader Paul Hickman said: "It's very demoralising. We are already trying to raise money for new premises, as our current scout hut is an old chicken shed. And now this."

Four five-man tents were taken in the raid as well as three purple two-man tents and a power mower.

Mr Hickman said: "We are putting an insurance claim in so we hope to replace the tents by next summer but in the meantime one camping trip to Shrublands over Christmas may have to be cancelled."

Explorer leader Maureen Hatton went further: "Why do adults have to steal from children? Our young people put a great deal of time and effort into the upkeep of our premises. It is the Explorers who cut the grass, clear the nettles and brambles and mend the vandalised fences."

The pre-fab garages the group uses for storage are part of Claydon's recreation ground and difficult to police.

"We have had one actual "break-in" to the hut, but the vandals were disturbed before they did too much damage. Constant repairs are a drain on our finances when we are trying to save our funds for a new building."

Police are contacting cash converters and second hand camping shops in the area in the hope the callous thieves will try to sell on the tents.

Mrs Hatton went on: "The big tents were used on a joint camp with First Shotley scouts this summer's Camjam, held at Peterborough. They helped us survive a very water-logged week. The new Explorer Unit were intending to use the hike tents for a New Year Frostbite camp during the Christmas holidays."

Anyone with information on the raid is urged to contact police on 01473 613500.

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Have you got a tent you could lend Claydon scouts? Contact the Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 282257.

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