A TWO-week crimewave at a sports centre has seen staff intimidated, equipment stolen and facilities vandalised.
Mexborough Miners Welfare Club is home to Mexborough Cricket Club and several football teams and runs the youth club on New Oxford Road.
In a fortnight, the club’s groundsman has been intimidated by youths, an expensive lawnmower has been taken, tennis nets have been slashed and burned with cigarette lighters and football seats broken.
More CCTV has been added at the 12-hectare site and the tennis courts - traditionally left open for the general public to use - could be locked for use by members only.
Welfare trustee Phil Barker said: “What’s really affected us is the amount of time and effort it takes to sort things out, with repairs and upgrading security.
“Two or three nights last week I planned to be working on things at the youth club on day-to-day things life fire alarm testing, but I had to help with this.
“Ninety per cent of the time, when people climb the fence, it’s just kids being kids and there’s no actual damage. We try to work with them.
“But when you get eight or nine older ones actually intimidating the groundsman, who is approaching 65, and the guy he was with, who is 77, it isn’t right.”
Mr Barker said this first incident, on the Wednesday before Easter, saw the youths jumping up and down on the groundsman’s car and taking the keys from a mower.
“Since then, we’ve had some ongoing issues,” he added. “There were two or three attempted break-ins which culminated in an actual break-in when two mowers were taken last Wednesday night.
“The push along mower is a specialist piece of kit, which is very expensive. It’s for bowling greens, golf courses and cricket squares, to give a really fine cut.”
In addition to considering locking the courts, the welfare will also reconsider the youth club link-up with Mexborough Full Life Church when the current crime commissioner funding ends in September.
A police spokeswoman said officers were investigating the break-in, which happened some time between 11pm last Wednesday and 7.25am the next day.
She added: “It is also reported that between 7.30pm on Thursday, April 20, and 7.30am the following morning, damage was caused to a garage lock at the club, consistent with someone trying to break in.”
The specialist mower stolen was a Ransomes Auto Certes and the other ride-on was a Westwood T1300.
Anyone with information about the crimes should call 101 quoting incident 149 of April 20.