A YOUTH football club is facing an uncertain future after its lawnmower was stolen in a £3,000 break-in.
Leaders at Chipping Norton Town Swifts fear the theft will leave them unable to practice at their Burford Road ground when pre-season training starts in August.
The clubhouse was broken into overnight last Thursday and a lawnmower, grass collector, strimmer and petrol cans were taken, the club said.
Vice chairman Martin Driscoll said the lawnmower is essential to not only cut the grass but uncover hidden rabbit holes and dog mess which children may fall into.
He said: “It is an absolutely vital piece of equipment for us.
“We will struggle now to prepare the pitch.
“There will be a little bit of danger to the boys and girls who are playing on it.”
Mr Driscoll said the club is unsure how they will find the money to pay for cutting the pitch or purchasing a new lawnmower.
He said: “We are all working hard to try to develop the club and it is just really a kick in the teeth when this happens. It always makes you feel a little more vulnerable.”
The club was not insured for the theft as they were unable to afford the cover and Mr Driscoll said it comes as the club is undergoing “genuine financial hardship”.
In April it spent £2,000 on a fence around the ground to tackle dog fouling and people driving onto the pitch.
Until the break-in, it was aiming to raise £1,000 through car boot sales and bag packing in supermarkets for the cost of new goals.
Mr Driscoll said the club, for five to 15-year olds, will now have to consider the extra expense of tighter security. It has had problems with smashed floodlights, broken windows and graffiti.
The Chipping Norton resident said: “We have had a number of vandalism incidents which have caused us financial problems.
“We have not been blessed with the funding that our other local clubs have had in recent years. A thousand pounds was going to be an achievement. There’s only so much you can ask from the local community.”
Thames Valley Police are investigating the lawnmower theft.
Police said the clubhouse was broken into by forcing a side door between 8pm last Thursday and 10.30am the next day. Anyone with information can call 101.
- Our top stories:
Update: Bullfinch: More than 350 youngsters potential abuse victims as campaigner calls for action not apologies
7:46am Monday 2nd March 2015
MORE than 350 youngsters in Oxfordshire have been identified as potential victims of groomers, the Oxford Mail understands.
3:52pm Monday 2nd March 2015
The M40 has reportedly been closed northbound between J8 and J8A near the Wheatley services due to an accident.
2:01pm Monday 2nd March 2015
International rap superstar Kanye West is expected in Oxford this afternoon for a talk at the Museum of Natural History.
9:00am Monday 2nd March 2015
THE SKELETON of a woman thought to be nearly 400 years old has been unearthed at an Oxford college.
8:44am Monday 2nd March 2015
PUPILS across the county will find out today whether they have got their first-choice of school as Oxfordshire County Council issues places for secondary schools today.
8:30am Monday 2nd March 2015
TWO dancing grannies took over the streets of Oxford as the city’s main annual dance festival got into full swing.
8:30am Monday 2nd March 2015
PLANS for new legislation following the death of a Headington boy will be announced by the Minister for Health this week.
8:00am Monday 2nd March 2015
A £3m cash boost will make a proposed cycling link between East Oxford and the city centre using a new bridge over the Thames a reality.
7:22am Monday 2nd March 2015
The traffic lights at Kennington roundabout are causing problems this morning.
7:00am Monday 2nd March 2015
A MEMORIAL garden to a murdered teenager will allow her family to make a “new start”.
6:30am Monday 2nd March 2015
A CITY heritage group has called new proposals for getting residents more involved in planning decisions nothing more than a “boxticking”exercise.
6:00am Monday 2nd March 2015
A VILLAGE’S threatened Post Office may have secured its long-term future following crunch talks, its postmaster has said.
1:20pm Sunday 1st March 2015
A MAN brandishing a broken bottle robbed a bookmakers in Bicester yesterday.
11:55am Sunday 1st March 2015
Police seized this £200,000 Ferrari 458 on the M40 in Oxfordshire this morning.