Four locked in cellar in Sandwell masked raid terror

Balaclava-clad robbers locked a worker and three elderly customers in a cellar for an hour during a terrifying raid carried out at a cricket club, making off with £2,000 together with bottles of wine and spirits.

A member of staff at Old Hill Cricket Club was locking up the bar at around midnight on Saturday when the four raiders struck. The robbers forced them all back into the club and took their phones off them, also stealing their cash. They then locked them into the cellar, where they remained for an hour as they could not call for help. They eventually managed to break out using a hammer.

The robbers had made off with around £2,000 in cash, and any wine and spirits that they could carry.

Club secretary Marina Preece said: “It was just so horrific for them.

“Luckily we are insured and we can hopefully claw some of the money back, but the trauma that was caused to the members is the worst thing.

“How can you put a price on that? It has just been awful for them.”

The robbery has also come as a huge blow to the cricket club, based on Haden Park Road in Cradley Heath, as it has been struggling recently.

Mrs Preece said: “Saturday night was the best night we had in ages.

“We have suffered with some really poor summers and our revenue comes from the beer, so this has hit us at a very bad time.

“We are going to have to try and find funds for CCTV – we have security lights but we are quite isolated where we are.”

Mrs Preece added that, although the victims saw four raiders, there may have been a fifth as she believes they would have needed a car to carry all of the stolen alcohol. A police investigation has been launched. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.

It is not the first time a cricket club in the area has been targeted.

Arsonists struck at Lye Cricket Club, in Stourbridge Road, last August, leaving the inside of its £230,000 pavilion building a burned-out shell.

At the height of the fire, flames could be seen leaping three feet in the air from the veranda.

Firefighters had needed breathing equipment as they fought the severe blaze.

The pavilion has now been restored and was officially re-opened at a celebration event earlier this year.

The inside of the pavilion had to be stripped and repairs carried out to the roof.