BARRY rugby volunteers are furious after thieves raided a new children's playground and legged it over a six foot fence with picnic table benches bought by the community.
The criminals targeted the newly-installed children’s playground at Barry Rugby Football Club, Merthyr Dyfan Road, during the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, May 27 – removing the 35kg wooden benches by hauling them over a railed fence.
The brazen thief or thieves, the club believe , may also have returned the following day – during the early hours of May 28 – and taken a metal dustbin, weighted down with cement, from the same playground area to the side of the club dodging CCTV cameras on the way.
Volunteers had first installed the playground on the former waste land around eight weeks ago and realising parents would need somewhere to sit to watch their children play, put the benches in place two weeks later.
The team had laboured for six days, for up to six hours a day, to construct the play equipment for use by hundreds of children – despite the seven instruction booklets advising a two-adult, 15-and-a-half-hour effort.
The play facility was secured with the help of a grant and the club ladies team – the Bombettes – stepped in to supply the seats and the park’s committee organised a raffle to buy the bins.
Club officials thought originally the benches had been taken away for varnishing before realising no-one involved with the club had.
Chairman of the mini and junior section of Barry RFC, Peter Griffiths said: “I just couldn’t believe someone would stoop so low. Why would you steal off children? And after all the work we put in to building it. It was intended for community use. We are all volunteers and we give up our time for the kids. It’s not the value so much, but to do that to the community and the kids – it’s totally disgusting. It would have been easier to go to Asda and buy one.”
He added: “After weeks of planning and volunteers’ time and effort, the grant was awarded. This grant had to be met by the mini and junior committee, total cost was £5,000. That was only the beginning. It then took several days to install it, again all done by various volunteers, anybody that have purchased flat pack furniture will understand how much work something of this scale entails. But bit by bit, day by day, the playground grew. The volunteers were driven on by the reward of seeing the kid's faces as they played on the new equipment.
“This has disheartened a lot of people especially all those involved in building and planning of the park.”
Colcot Arms manager, Vicky Hocking – a friend of ladies team manager Rachel Baron - has already offered to replace the picnic benches.
Peter said: “We are overwhelmed and very grateful. We would like to say a massive thank you to Vicky Hocking for a lovely gesture made. It just goes to show there are still a lot of good people out there. Let’s make sure the minority don't spoil it for the majority of people that work hard for the community in Barry.”
Anyone, with any information as to the whereabouts of the club’s benches and bin or who took them, should call Barry police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
Alternatively, call Barry Rugby Club from 7pm to 11.30pm, seven days a week.