A VILLAGE cricket club faces hundreds of pounds worth of repair work after thieves trashed its clubhouse during a weekend break-in.

The vandals stole alcohol and sweets during the raid at Avoncroft Cricket Club but it is the damage they caused that will hit the Stoke Heath club in the pocket.

Police suspect the robbers used a sledgehammer to smash through the bolted gates at the front of the ground before shattering clubhouse doors and windows some time on Sunday evening (June 30).

They then stole alcohol and confectionery and made off with the till, which was empty, before making a quick getaway as the alarm sounded.

Paul Athey, treasurer and junior section organiser at the Hanbury Road club, which competes in the Worcestershire League, said the break-in would be a real financial setback for Avoncroft.

He said: “The damage caused is going to run to several hundred pounds. We’ve got to replace the doors and windows, and a new till itself is going to cost a few hundred.

“The till will cost more than anything and they smashed up the area around the till to get it too.

“The last couple of years we have made a profit of a couple of hundred pounds a year as a club. We are a village club that just about manages to cover its costs.

“We don’t have the reserves to cover this sort of thing. The club is insured but the excess on the insurance means it’s probably not viable to claim for the damage.”

Avoncroft had been playing just hours before the break-in, said Mr Athey, adding: “The ground had been used on Sunday afternoon and had been locked up.

“We have two big metal gates at the front of the pavilion to stop people being able to gain access to the verandah given the clubhouse is only a wooden building.

“They smashed through the metal gates, which were bolted, so there’s a suggestion they used a sledgehammer to do so.

“Then they smashed the glass in the windows and doors to get into the main pavilion, where they caused a lot of damage.

“We think they were probably just young lads on the basis they took alcohol, mainly bottles of spirits, and sweets and chocolate from the bar area.

“They have gone through cupboards but there’s not much in them so they have thrown stuff around and caused a lot of petty damage.”

Anyone with information about the break-in should call police on 101.