Burglar's raid devastates Gosport's Thorngate Halls association
DEVASTATED members of a community group have said they have been badly affected after a burglary left volunteers demoralised.
Gosport Community Association is ‘struggling’ after Peter Civil walked into the Thorngate Halls in Bury Road and took hundreds of pounds worth of alcohol.
Association chairman Doreen Dodds told the Portsmouth Crown Court that although they had lost out it was the impact on volunteers that hurt the most.
‘Much more of a worry to me is the additional impact it’s had on staff and volunteers at the community centre,’ her statement said.
‘I’d like the person who committed this crime to know that their actions on that evening has been much more than a financial loss.’
Speaking to The News, she added: ‘It’s been pretty difficult, the biggest impact is on the staff, they all do a good job but they’re doubting themselves now.’
Radio Haslar was burgled and CDs taken in a separate raid in the first week of the month, she added.
Doreen said the association, which is in the middle of refurbishments, was a ‘struggling registered charity’.
The court also heard drug addict Civil, 33, of Ann’s Hill Road, Gosport, had relapsed under pressure from family problems at home.
Between 9pm and 10pm on March 24 he walked into Thorngate Halls into a spirits room at the end of a function.
The theft of £744 cash and £160 cash was discovered when staff went to get stock.
CCTV was checked and revealed he had walked into the hall from the rear door and taken a box of alcohol.
Jailing Civil, judge Christopher Parker QC said: ‘The impact upon a community that relies upon a centre for proper and legitimate recreation is immense, as you would know if you stopped for a minute to think about it but you could not because all you wanted was your drugs.’
Civil admitted the burglary, along with a theft of £41.65 worth of washing tablets from One Stop, in Village Road, in Gosport on April 11.
He also admitted careless driving of his Renault Clio for reversing over a PCSO’s bike after the shoplifting.
In all he was jailed for 17 months, including a six and three month term for breaching two suspended sentences.
Daniel Reilly, for Civil, said his client had done well on drug rehabilitation courses but only relapsed due to family pressures at home.
There had also been a 14-month gap in his offending.