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Crime-hit Haverhill community facility gets a helping hand




The manager of a community football facility that had hundreds of pounds worth of damage caused to it during an attempted burglary has said he was “gobsmacked” to receive an offer to repair some of the damage for free.

Intruders trashed some of the wooden fencing that surrounds the main pitch at the New Croft, in Chalkstone Way, Haverhill when they broke in at about 7.45pm on Sunday.

Peter Betts, the facilities and football development manager for the Haverhill Community Sports Association, which manages the set up, said he discovered that about 20 fencing boards had been damaged along two sides of the main stadium pitch when he arrived at the site at 5.30am on Monday.

Ben Mayhew is repairing fencing at the New Croft free of charge, after an attempted break in over the weekend. Picture by Richard Marsham/RMG Photography
Ben Mayhew is repairing fencing at the New Croft free of charge, after an attempted break in over the weekend. Picture by Richard Marsham/RMG Photography

The New Croft is home to Thurlow Nunn League sides Haverhill Rovers and Haverhill Borough.

Mr Betts added that the intruders tried to break off the locks on the car park gate with an angle grinder left on site by contractors installing a new irrigation system for the pitch and caused ‘a few hundred pounds worth of damage’.

They then used a ladder - which they also stole - left on the site to climb up to one of the CCTV cameras to cover it with tape so they couldn’t be recognised.

Peter Betts pictured with some of the damage caused during an attempted break in at the New Croft in Haverhill over the weekend. Picture by Richard Marsham/RMG Photography.
Peter Betts pictured with some of the damage caused during an attempted break in at the New Croft in Haverhill over the weekend. Picture by Richard Marsham/RMG Photography.

But, he added, the good security systems at the New Croft, including alrams and CCTV, prevented them getting into the actual building.

“Fortunately for us our building is really secure and covered by CCTV and where they have climbed up the ladder to tape over one of the CCTV cameras, hoping we were not going to see their faces, what they didn’t realise was that there was another camera behind them.”

Ben Mayhew is repairing fencing at the The New Croft free of charge, after an attempted break in over the weekend. Picture by Richard Marsham/RMG Photography.
Ben Mayhew is repairing fencing at the The New Croft free of charge, after an attempted break in over the weekend. Picture by Richard Marsham/RMG Photography.

Having such good security, added Mr Betts, ‘makes life really difficult’ for anyone trying to break-in to the building.

Two people have been captured on one of the CCTV cameras trying to get into the building.

After details of the attempted burglary was posted on the New Croft’s Twitter account, an offer of help was made by BM Fencing, which is based in Thetford.

When he heard of the company’s offer of help, Mr Betts said: “I was a bit gobsmacked really."

And with BM Fencing’s owner Ben Mayhew having completed the work on Tuesday, Mr Betts said: "I can't speak highly enough of him.

"He obviously volunteered himself. He's done a really good job, he has not charged and he has covered the costs of the materials."

Mr Mayhew, who happens to also be a goalkeeper for Bury Town FC, said: “It’s about 45 minutes work so I’m not going out of my way to help them out but I have been in football for a little while and I know how difficult it is to run a club.

“I’ve played at the New Croft a few times. It’s a nice little set up they’ve got there. It’s really good for their community.

“I can see what that football club means to a lot of the community there. I’m happy to help.

“There are lots of people like me and they go under the radar at the moment. We are doing some work for Bury Town (FC) and they are chucking their time in for free.

“You go down to Bury Town on a Saturday morning and there’s 20 people just clearing up or painting and they just do it for the love of the game and it’s really refreshing to see.”


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