Burntwood Rugby Club devastated as crowbar thieves cause thousands of pounds of damage
Rugby club members have been left devastated after 'mindless' thugs ransacked their community hub.
The raid on Burntwood Rugby Club saw two men smash their way into the venue, leaving community members heartbroken.
Club president Paul Rogers said he was worried repairs could now mount into the tens of thousands after the raid by the armed men.
The 52-year-old said: "It's a mindless thing for small monetary gain. Having seen the footage of them walking in and smashing things with crow bars, I feel quite sorry for them.
"I think they are sad. If that's all they have got to do, then they haven't got much going on in their lives."
WATCH CCTV footage from the club:
Police were alerted to the break in at 3.40am after the club's alarm system was triggered when the thieves broke in.
Vandals, who donned hooded jackets, gloves and dark tracksuits, were captured on CCTV approaching the club, based in The Sportsway.
Armed with crowbars, the two thieves covered their faces before smashing a window to scramble into the club after failing to get in through the roof.
They propped memorial benches up against walls to help them scale the roof before stealing lead tiles on Tuesday.
GALLERY shows damaged clubhouse:
Father-of-three Mr Rogers, who has been with the club for the past 35 years, said: "We are a community club. Everybody shares it, there's lots of community groups which come and use it. Everybody is feeling it.
"I have been overwhelmed by the response from everyone - people offering to help and tidy up. It's humbling.
"You have to be strong and move on because you can't let something like this get to you. We are feeling quite low and shocked but we are all rallying together."
A pool table at the club, which is used by about 180 youngsters and various community groups, was also left with a gaping hole.
Cash was taken from the pool table and a sweets machine, while a CCTV camera was shattered.
Despite the break-in, members boarded up the damaged window and cleared the mess before opening as usual the same day.
Mr Rogers, who said the club suffered a 'particularly bad break-in' a decade ago, revealed other clubs in the area had got in touch to reveal they had experienced similar ordeals.
He added: "At the end of the day it's hard to survive running a club this size, which I can say I am proud it's a community club offering services for the many local kids, elderly and everyone else we can help.
"But it is made so much harder for all our staff and volunteers when you have to suffer these insults.
"We realise it's not just a one-off and we have got to be vigilant so it doesn't happen again."
Call Staffordshire Police with information, quoting reference number 303 of June 5.