£5,500 stolen in armed raid after Cheddar Football Club fireworks display
Two masked raiders armed with crowbars burst into Cheddar Football Club on Friday night, threatening two female barstaff as they counted cash from the club’s firework display and made off with £5,500 in takings.
Around 500 people had turned out to the Bowdens Park display.
The fireworks were followed by a disco in the clubhouse, but a few hours later the two masked men ruined everything for the club.
Steve Bayliss, chairman of Cheddar Football Club, said: “I was contacted at around 12.45am by the bar staff informing me of the takings for the evening, but what followed turned a successful family night into everyone’s worst nightmare.
“The masked raiders burst into the clubhouse at around 1.15am and threatened the bar staff with crowbars and unless they handed over all the money, they could get hurt.”
The burglars made off with around £5,500. But to show the raiders it shall not be beaten, the club is holding another bonfire and firework night has been scheduled for December 28.
Mr Bayliss said: “We have always been a little bit concerned about security at the club and I am sure all clubs feel the same when there is large amounts of money involved.
“The most important factor was that no physical harm came to the girls, but at the same time they are both very shaken.
“The bar staff have been interviewed by CID and they have given all the information they can, but they will both be off work for the time being.”
Security at the club has already been upgraded and the football club now have to wait to see if the stolen takings are insured losses.
There was no significant damage to the club itself, apart from a mobile phone that was taken and thrown through one of the partition walls during the raid and the club phone was also smashed.
Mr Bayliss said: “The knock-on effect has been that the first team fixture on Saturday in the cup against Bitton had to be postponed on the recommendation of the police as the surrounding area was being treated as a crime scene.”
Mr Bayliss said the club has moved forward through the input of certain people who have worked hard to manage and maintain the cash flow.
He said: “We have had to put in for loans and call out loans and you think to yourself, this is devastating for all those people who act as volunteers, along with the casual staff who are then subjected to threats in our local community by these type of people.
“If it is local people who have done this, then it is disgusting, or even if it is someone from the bigger cities, it will never make it acceptable.
“Cheddar has had a spate of crimes recently, but as far as the club is concerned, the finances and small amount of damage to the building is irrelevant to what could have happened to the bar staff, especially as they could have been seriously injured.”
He praised the staff for their bravery and doing the right thing by co-operating with the raiders.
Police are appealing for anyone with information about the crime to contact them on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.