Labour-run Lydiate Parish Council have contacted the police after fence thieves caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to two council owned facilities in the village.
Last week Lydiate Community Centre caretakers Keith Hawkins and Craig Bramwell discovered that a square stretch of the green mesh fencing that surrounds the centre had been cut out and stolen. The incident happened between the evening of Wednesday, June 3 and the morning of Thursday, June 4.
The theft comes after two large panels of similar fencing were stolen from the basketball court on Sandy Lane.
Both incidents have been reported to the police.
Lydiate Parish Council's Labour leader, Cllr John Bailey said it appeared that both incidents were targeted thefts.
Cllr Bailey said: "The latest incident at the community centre on Lambshear Lane has been carried out in a very targeted way. The caretakers report that the fence was fine the day before and that who ever did it must have struck at some stage during the evening or early morning.
"The area of fencing that was cut out was at a spot not covered by the centre's CCTV system.
"Wire cutters have been used to cut out the perfect square which measures at about two-foot by two-foot. It leads us to believe that it has been stolen for a specific purpose, such as for use on a rabbit hutch.
"But because the area that has been cut out comes from a larger section of fencing, the overall cost will run into the hundreds as we have to replace a whole section of paneling.
"Add this together with the cost of replacing the panels that were stolen some time back from the basketball court on Sandy Lane and you are looking a very costly couple of thefts."
Deputy leader, Labour's Cllr Andy Wilson, said the latest incident has now been reported to the police and the centre's CCTV is being checked.
Cllr Wilson said: "This is willful criminal behaviour that has caused extensive and costly damage to the fencing. We have passed to the police all of the details and while that particular area of fencing isn't covered by the CCTV, we are looking through the footage to see if the perpetrators have been picked up by the cameras as they've made their way to and from the centre.
"It is shocking to think that people are willing to cause hundreds of pounds worth of damage to public property for the sake of a piece of mesh fencing that would cost no more than a few pounds.
"As for the basketball court on Sandy Lane, the thieves there must have used a van to get those panels away.
"What is equally disappointing is that the fencing was stolen over a year ago and still the previous Lib Dem administration who were in sole-charge of the parish council prior to May failed replace it. Not only is it potentially dangerous to leave the fencing part-exposed, but it also makes the court almost unusable for anyone wanting to play there because they would be spending as much of their time retrieving the ball than they would playing the game.
"We will be looking into repairing the damage to both fences as soon as possible.
"I would urge anyone with any information relating to both of these incidents to report it to the police. This isn't a victimless crime. The community of Lydiate is a victim here and we must all take a stand against all criminal activity in our community."
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