CamdenNewJournal

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Thieves use angle-grinders to raid community centre

Staff say burglars carried out 'well planned, professional looking job'

14 June, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

Centre manager Tricia Richards at the gate where thieves forced their way in

BURGLARS have raided a community centre and have got away with a haul of equipment which will cost to replace.

The thieves targeted the Castlehaven Community Association in Camden Town late yesterday (Thursday) night in what staff say was a “well planned, professional looking job.”

Gardening tools including lawn mowers, strimmers, blowers and a jet washer were among the items stolen.

Those responsible not only selected high value gardening equipment, but also dug up a bollard to get a van close to the building. They then cut their way through two high security padlocks on a gate and a reinforced door.

Centre manager Tricia Richards said: “This looks like a professional job. Three weeks ago we had as new security bollard put in because the previous one was stolen. They dug it up – it is big and heavy. They then angle-grinded their way through a heavy duty padlock that was on an outside security gate to get into our storage area – and then they chose exactly the building they wanted to raid, and cut their way through padlocks to do so.”

She believes either they were looking for landscaping machinery they could quickly sell on – the haul included a number of hand held power tools – or perhaps are running a gardening business.

She said: “There was lots of other equipment in there but they knew what they wanted – they went straight for the high value electrical items.”

Staff at the Castlehaven Community Centre

The Association has been targeted before. A recently re-decorated a football changing room for their sports area – that was completed just two weeks ago – saw vandals smash down the changing room doors to see if there was anything of value inside.

Other incidents included thieves attempting to cut a section of the Association’s all weather football pitch up to remove it.

Ms Richards added: “We managing the park, and a garden for our school nursery. We need the equipment for our gardeners. “Whoever did this has damaged a small charity. It will effect all the community and hamper us as we try to keep our gardens maintained for everyone.”

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