Softball club members gutted after lock-up looted

By Tessa Johnstone of the Wairarapa Times-Age -
Allan Clarke, president of the Giants Softball Club, shows the empty shipping container after thieves stole around $5000 worth of gear from it. Photo / APN
Allan Clarke, president of the Giants Softball Club, shows the empty shipping container after thieves stole around $5000 worth of gear from it. Photo / APN

Giants Softball Club members are devastated after $5000 worth of gear was stolen from their Wairarapa lock-up, and without insurance they are unsure how it will be replaced.

Club president Allan Clarke said the gear, which was stored in a shipping container at the club's base at South Park, Masterton, was stolen some time between Friday night's and Saturday morning's games.

Groundsman Craig Shannahan, a volunteer, arrived to set up for Saturday's game and found the steel lock guard had been smashed off and the container left open.

Along with the gear, a mower, a specialised marking rope, a quad bike, and large number of tools were taken. Mr Clarke said the quad bike was donated five years ago and put to use keeping the grounds in shape.

"It's a very valuable piece of equipment, it's not just the monetary value, it's the work it had done," he said.

The 100-metre rope was imported from the US, and has several steel clips attached which allow the team to mark out the softball diamond accurately.

Mr Clarke said club members put their heart and soul into running the club and were gutted at the theft.

Saturday's game was cancelled due to weather but Mr Clarke said he was unsure whether next Friday's games, in which 11 youth teams are scheduled to play, would go ahead.

The club, which has 70 members and 113 young people in youth teams, are meeting on Wednesday to discuss what to do.

"We haven't got the money to replace it. We're a sports club, we travel over the hill to play and a lot of our fundraising goes towards that," Mr Clarke said.

The club's base belongs to Masterton District Council, but Mr Clarke said the club had invested a lot of time and money into it.

"We've spent thousands of dollars building this park to be what it is, to have this happen is a kick in the guts. This is a sports club, we're not here for profit, we're here to give people a chance to play softball."

Mr Clarke said whoever stole the gear was a "lowlife that should be hung, quartered and drawn", but he would happily accept return of the gear.

Masterton police handled several other burglaries and vandalism incidents during the weekend.

Senior Sergeant Warwick Burr said a Hessey St home was damaged after burglars broke in while residents were away, leaving damage to walls, a broken window and furniture strewn around. Nothing was stolen.

Another burglary was reported on Friday morning, thought to have happened some time in the past three weeks, as again the occupants were away.

Mr Burr said a 42-inch television, an X-Box, a laptop and shearing gear were taken from the Beetham St home.

Makoura College was hit by taggers who marked 17 places at the school.

Principal Tom Hullena said it was the worst tagging the school had seen in two years.

Anyone with information can call Masterton police on 06 370 0378 or anonymously Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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