Rugby club heart­bro­ken after reck­less van­dal­ism

Llanelli Star - - LETTERS - Ian Lewis @IanLewis80 [email protected]­ 07790 591150

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.

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