Gym­nas­tics club hit by van­dals’ wreck­ing spree

Own­ers dev­as­tated as dam­age to equip­ment will cost £40,000

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - CH­ERYL PEE­BLES cpee­[email protected]­

A chil­dren’s gym­nas­tics club was tar­geted by in­trud­ers who slashed valu­able equip­ment, caus­ing £40,000 worth of dam­age.

The sis­ters who own Bal­wea­rie Gym­nas­tics were dev­as­tated to dis­cover the de­struc­tion when they re­turned to their gym in Kirk­caldy af­ter the hol­i­days.

Locks on the build­ing in Mitchel­ston In­dus­trial Es­tate were glued and when Lor­raine Craw­ford and Lynette Sharp fi­nally gained ac­cess they were stunned by the scene of chaos.

The crime oc­curred be­tween De­cem­ber 21 and 27 and po­lice have ap­pealed for in­for­ma­tion.

Ex­am­i­na­tion of the scene in­di­cated the van­dals had worn gloves and Lor­raine be­lieves they were adults ma­li­ciously in­tent on caus­ing max­i­mum dam­age, rather than youths.

She and Lynette, who were on hol­i­day, learned of the glued locks on De­cem­ber 27 but did not sus­pect the de­struc­tion in­side.

It was only when they re­turned on Jan­uary 4 the mag­ni­tude of the dam­age was re­vealed.

Lor­raine said: “We were gut­ted, com­pletely gut­ted.

“I can’t com­pre­hend why some­one would do some­thing like this.

“It’s so spe­cific, it wasn’t young kids that have gone in to have a party and have trashed the place, they have caused max­i­mum dam­age to ex­pen­sive equip­ment.

“Ev­ery­thing that could be cut has been cut.”

As well as crash mat cov­ers be­ing slashed, she said a beam had been sawed and pins re­moved from a bar.

“Whether they have a grudge against the club or my­self or my sis­ter, it’s the kids who lose out in the end,” said Lor­raine.

“The kids are re­ally up­set. Whether they at­tend one hour a week or 16, 17 hours a week they all come to gym­nas­tics be­cause they love it.”

De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Michael Nodes said: “The sheer scale of the van­dal­ism un­der­taken dur­ing this in­ci­dent is breath­tak­ing and it has de­prived the lo­cal com­mu­nity of a num­ber of pieces of this ex­pen­sive equip­ment.”

The club, which moved to the premises from Bal­wea­rie High School six years ago, is used by young­sters aged from three to 17.

Par­ents have ral­lied to help clean up the mess and raise money to re­place the ru­ined equip­ment.

It is es­ti­mated to re­place ev­ery­thing that was dam­aged would cost £40,000 but it is hoped some of it can be re­paired.

Al­though the club is in­sured for pub­lic li­a­bil­ity, build­ing con­tents were not in­sured as much of it was gifted or older.

An on­line crowd­fun­der has al­ready raised hun­dreds of pounds.

Com­pe­ti­tion gym­nasts pre­par­ing for forth­com­ing events have been of­fered use of fa­cil­i­ties by other clubs.

Reg­u­lar classes are to re­sume on Satur­day, a week late, once the premises and ba­sic equip­ment are made safe for use.

Pic­tures: Kris Miller.

Sis­ters Lor­raine Craw­ford and Lynette Sharp re­turned from hol­i­day to a scene of de­struc­tion in their Kirk­caldy gym.

Van­dals slashed crash mats and sawed a beam, caus­ing max­i­mum dam­age.

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