Rugby club heartbroken after reckless vandalism
VANDALS have devastated a Gwendraeth Valley rugby club after they ran riot destroying windows, furniture and memorabilia dating back more than a century.
Penygroes RFC clubhouse is no longer in use due to the club having relocated to smaller premises in the village.
However, chairman Neil Armstrong has now spoken publicly about the attack, contacted police and issued photos of the wreckage he discovered following the incident three weeks ago.
He said: “I had gone in to turn the electricity on at the club and check everything when I could see two windows had been smashed.
“What I found inside was heartbreaking, it was a complete mess.
“There were ceremonial plates from past matches over the years, smashed.
“Photos which go back more than 100 years to when the club started were destroyed and their frames shattered.
“Display cases all wrecked along with tables flipped and furniture ripped out and torn.”
Mr Armstrong said that every room in the club, which was established in 1891, had been ransacked including the kitchen.
He added: “It looks like whoever did this had used a cricket bat and were probably throwing memorabilia around, playing cricket with them.”
Dyfed Powys Police have been at the club and carried out forensic investigations.
Mr Armstrong said: “They’ve got footprints from the shoes and also finger prints but haven’t caught them yet so I can’t say too much at the moment.
“I believe whoever they are who did this are local to the area.”
The club posting photos of the damage on Facebook and Twitter has seen an outcry from people who have branded the actions as deeply disrespectful.
Mr Armstrong said: “A couple of years ago we marked our 125th anniversary and we have struggled as a club with numbers and even disbanded for a season, but we came back and actually won the league.
“We have moved the clubhouse to a smaller place down the road next to the pitch and the plan was to move all the photos and items at the clubhouse to the new place.
“All that has been ruined, I wanted to create a timeline for the wall.
“It’s the total lack of respect for other people’s property and respect for irreplaceable historical artefacts that has really struck a nerve with people in the village and wider rugby community.”
Despite the reckless vandalism, Mr Armstrong has publicly offered an olive branch to the culprits offering them to join the club and play rugby in a bid to channel what he believes is “frustration” and to teach them “key life skills that their parents didn’t have time to teach them.”
Dyfed Powys Police said: “We received a report on Tuesday, July 2, that the Penygroes Rugby Club had been broken into and vandalised.
“Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting the crime reference DPP/0021/02/07/ 2019/01/C.”
Damage caused to Penygroes RFC.