Minibus damaged and lawnmower stolen in football ground break-in

Daniel Hickeyin Football

A minibus was smashed up and a lawnmower stolen during the latest in a spate of break-ins at a football ground on the Norfolk coast.

A lawnmower was damaged after suspect(s) broke into Emerald Park, Gorleston FC's home ground, on June 15. Credit: Darren Webb

Norfolk Police are investigating a burglary at Emerald Park, the home venue of Gorleston FC on Woodfarm Lane.

The incident happened some time between 10am and 2pm on June 15, when unknown suspect(s) forced entry into the venue.

Damage was caused to the windows and doors of the building, the club's minibus and various pieces of equipment, including a lawnmower.

Darren Webb, groundsman, said he first learned of the break-in when his friend's daughter told him a video had been posted on TikTok of people at the ground using the lawnmower.

When Mr Webb arrived on the scene, the suspects had left, but he discovered they had taken the lawnmower out of the shed and ran it out of fuel, before filling it with diesel and damaging the engine.

The machine only started working again on Tuesday (June 22), Mr Webb added.

He said that in total, over the last 30 days, there have been six break-ins at the ground.

"Sometimes we get kids breaking in to play football, which doesn't bother me when they just play and go home. But all the damage caused, the smashed glass in the carpark, the smashed windows, because we're all volunteers there, it's bad when it happens."

"Cost-wise, it's ridiculous. I'm losing time at my job. I don't mind doing the work, but when you're doing it time and time again," he said.

Currently, Gorleston FC are planning to leave Emerald Park before moving to a new stadium on the grounds of East Norfolk Sixth Form College.

Mr Webb said: "If the new ground is not finished and ready, we'll have to start the season at Emerald, so we have to keep maintaining the ground."

Enquiries are ongoing and anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information concerning it, is encouraged to contact PC Michael Adderley at Gorleston Police Station on 101 quoting crime reference 36/41704/21.

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