Match-day thief steals from players

Swansea City Centre. Credit: Wiki Commons (Labelled for reuse)

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A THIEF who targeted footballers is believed to have hidden in the changing rooms before kick-off to get himself locked in on purpose.

Players for AFC Portchester were left stunned when the theft was discovered during the first half of the match at club’s ground at Wicor Rec in Portchester.

The changing rooms had been locked at 2.30pm on Saturday when the men’s reserves went out to warm up for their match against Fleet Town.

AFC’s club secretary Jason Brooker said: ‘We locked up the changing rooms when we went out to play.

‘At about half-three, one of the players asked if the changing rooms could be opened. He came over after and asked if someone had been in there because he was missing an iPod and some money.’

Once everyone had had the chance to check their belongings, it is thought about £400 cash plus various personal belongings were taken from players on both teams – and the referee. It’s thought the man got out through the fire exit.

Mr Brooker added: ‘It seems he came around the back of the changing rooms where there’s no public access. We saw someone watching the players warm up, but then he vanished again. He must have gone into the changing rooms and hidden in there.’

‘It has deflated people. A lot of effort goes into a match day and to make sure stuff is secure so for an individual to go in there and do this, it’s a bit of a downer.

‘The lads work hard for their money each week.

‘It’s open to the public, so it’s obviously someone who knows the layout of the building.’

The game ended in a 0-0 draw.

The changing room block was only built last year, part-funded by Fareham Borough Council. As part of the deal for the funding, the building’s toilets are open to the public.

Police are investigating the thefts. Anyone with information should contact Portchester’s safer neighbourhoods team on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.