Locks Heath rugby club sickened by thieves who burnt minibus

Locks Heath Rugby Club's chairman Richard Jones and player Mark Woodall with members of the club. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (151485-2)

Locks Heath Rugby Club's chairman Richard Jones and player Mark Woodall with members of the club. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (151485-2)

Rodney Traves. Credit: Hampshire Constabulary

Police hunting for man in connection with kidnapping

  • Locks Heath rugby club is devastated after the minibus was stolen and set alight
  • The vehicle was used for away trips by both teams
  • Chairman said it was sad to lose the bus and £2,000 worth of kit just days before the season starts
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Locks Heath Rugby Club, home to the Pumas and Angry Squirrels, discovered the vehicle was missing after their pre-season game against Havant on Tuesday.

It was later found in Stubbington in the early hours of yesterday by police but the minibus and the £2,000 of kit kept inside was ruined.

Club chairman Richard Jones said it was a massive loss.

‘It is really disheartening for everyone at the club and it is sickening to know it was taken from our home ground,’ he said.

‘We have two senior teams now and the minibus was important for away games.

‘I got the call from police this morning asking me to identify it as our bus.

The burnt-out minibus stolen from Locks Heath Rugby Club

The burnt-out minibus stolen from Locks Heath Rugby Club

‘It was going to be used for our first game of the season on Saturday as we are away to Old Georgians in Surrey but that won’t be possible now. It is just a huge loss to the club.’

The kit inside the minibus included new shirts, new match and training balls, a first aid kit and water bottles.

Mr Jones added: ‘The new kit was for the teams but now we only have one set of shirts for both. They were worth around £1,500 and with our training and match balls, we have lost a lot of money.

‘The season is just days away and that makes it really sad.

It is really disheartening for everyone at the club and it is sickening to know it was taken from our home ground

Chairman Richard Jones

‘We had already sorted out the logistics for the season to see which team could use the minibus when fixtures clashed and where our away games were after being promoted to Division 1.

‘But now, all that was for nothing.’

The club, based at Abshot Community Centre in Kelsey Close, also loans the minibus to groups at the centre.

Senior player Andrew Hamlett said: ‘The centre is a big sponsor of ours so we let the groups use the minibus for free.

‘But now they cannot use it so it has affected more groups than just the rugby club.

‘It is devastating and appalling that someone would take the minibus knowing it is ours.’

Mr Hamlett added that the team is now trying to find a replacement for Saturday’s game.

Anyone who could loan the team a minibus should email richjones@locksheathpumas.com.

A spokeswoman from Hampshire Constabulary said the minibus was being forensically examined after being found at 5am.

She also said two men aged 17 and 34 and a 39-year-old woman had been arrested in relation to this incident and remain in custody.

Crowd funding: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/locksheath-pumas-rfc-minibus-fund/

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