A community football club in Eccles set for its grand re-opening this weekend was hit by thieves who stole gardening gear and torched £800-worth of children’s football equipment.
Police were called to Worsley Road in Winton at around 3.30am on Wednesday morning when three people were spotted by a local resident acting suspiciously.
It’s thought three males were seen wheeling lawnmowers down the street.
Whoever broke into AFC Monton’s ground used bolt cutters to break the locks on the gates before breaking into temporary containers the club is using for storage.
They stole two hand-driven petrol lawnmowers before setting fire to the container.
Inside was training equipment, goal nets, corner flags, the first team’s entire playing kit and two mini-soccer samba nets.
AFC Monton play at New Alder Park in Winton.
2016 is the club’s 100th anniversary of providing quality coaching and playing opportunities for children in the local area.
“I got a call from police at four in the morning on Wednesday,” said AFC Monton club secretary Tony Lee.
“They said that there’d been a break in and one of the containers was on fire.
“Everything inside was smoke damaged. That’s kids’ goal nets, corner flags, kit and training equipment.”
It’s thought the club will lose out entirely, as it’s not possible to get insurance on temporary containers.
This Sunday 10 July the club are to have their grand re-opening ceremony with a fully refurbished clubhouse it’s taken years to fund.
Salford rugby League legend Adrian Morley is to cut the ribbon at 12 noon on Sunday.
The Red Devils club ambassador recently helped SalfordOnline.com sign a deal to promote the work of Salford Red Devils Foundation.
A full day of football will follow the ribbon-cutting as FC United throw down the gauntlet to the AFC Monton first team in a 1pm kick-off.
AFC Monton Select X1 will also take on local neighbours and Manchester Premier League rivals Hindsford FC at 3pm
All 14 of Monton’s Junior teams from ages 4-15 will also be in action throughout the day and there’s free admission, a licenced bar, cake stalls, ice cream and a bouncy castle.
The club is also fundraising to replace the burned equipment.
If you want to help, there’s a JustGiving page here where you can donate.