Bognor Regis & District Sea Cadets have been left ‘distraught’ after their headquarters in Felpham was ransacked for the second time in two weeks.
The building, adjacent to Longbrook Park, was broken into over the weekend, and between the two raids everything of value was taken, including a safe, a coffee machine and IT equipment worth several thousands of pounds.
“We are very sickened and shocked,” said LT Gary Edgington, the officer in charge of the cadet Unit, who discovered on Thursday, April 14 that one of the building’s fire exits had been forced open with a crowbar.
The second incident, reported by a member of the public, is believed to have occurred in the early hours of Friday, April 22 and reported on Saturday, April 23.
Mr Edgington said: “Staff, cadets and parents alike are very upset and devastated that the unit had been broken into not only once but twice.
“Anything of any monetary value has been taken, there is nothing left and the thieves have left a lot of damage to the fabric of the building which will need to be repaired.”
Disruption has been caused to the training of the cadets, a charity that promotes personal development and self-confidence for many local young people. “We have 23 cadets enrolled at the unit between the ages of ten and 18, and many of them rely on this unit to have some sort of normality in their lives.
Some of our cadets have special needs,” he added.
Thieves first broke into the unit overnight on Wednesday, April 13.
The full scale of the crime was revealed as the cadets were set to attend the unit for training, which had to be cancelled at short notice.
Laptops, large screen displays and projectors, along with other specialist equipment had been taken.
In the second raid a safe, the Ship’s Bell, ensigns, trophies, musical instruments, printer/scanner, first aid training aids, football kit and a replacement Ship’s Decanter, a coffee machine were among the items taken.
The cadets will now have to start fundraising and have set an initial target of £3,000 to cover the damage.
The unit management’s vice chairman, Chris Blows, has offered a reward of £500 to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and prosecution.
Sussex Police are investigating and have conducted forensic investigations. Anyone with information should email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 101, quoting serial 561 of 23/04.
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