Cwmbran football club hit by theft weeks after flooding devastation
Written by Dan Williams on 18th April 2020
Lucas Cwmbran AFC has been hit by break-ins and thefts over recent months, the most recent break-in has led to a defibrillator getting stolen.
The club received the defibrillator after one of their players Derrick “Degs” Williams sadly passed away during a training game.
Speaking via phone call to Vitalize Radio Founder Dan Williams, Vice Chair of Lucas Cwmbran AFC, Chris Hallett said:
To get that AED after one of our players died during a game, it gave a piece of mind to everyone knowing that we had it there if the situation every arose, knowing we had the piece of equipment there to deal with it.
Derrick sadly passed away in July 2019 from cardiac arrest. To raise funds to purchase a defibrillator the club held events such as charity matches, BBQs, and a GoFundMe page was set up.
The Football Association of Wales said that they were looking to get defibrillators at all football grounds across Wales and gave one to the club after finding out about Derrick passing away.
Chris Hallett, Vice Chair of Lucas Cwmbran AFC, said that the money raised prior to the donation of the defibrillator went to Derricks family.
He also said that in this most recent break-in, equipment such as a stereo boombox amongst other electrical items also including a ceiling mounted projector were also stolen.
Being a community sports club, Vice Chair Chris Hallett expressed his disappointment in the break-in and theft and added that he wished there was more respect for the club. Especially as many of the items were funded by the clubs members and by generosity of the community.
Chris continued saying how he recalls of a break-in around 7 – 8 years ago where an attempt to steal copper pipework and the copper boiler was made. Repairs were made however, two weeks later the copper boiler was stolen from a further break-in.
The club has been successful in some funding efforts over previous years, however they now require additional support in order to secure the premises and to replace the items that have been stolen including the defibrillator.
A funding page is currently in the process of being set up where donations can be made to support the club.
Chris said that over the previous six months, he estimates there has been at least six break-ins with more and more being stolen and damaged each time.
A break-in that took place before the floods from heavy rain some weeks ago saw the section for the clubs minis broken into where patio doors were smashed through and barn doors were ripped off.
In response to this particular break-in, the club collectively decided that they needed to provide some immediate security for the premises and ordered security shutters. However, due to lockdown restrictions in place by the government, these have been on hold for some weeks and are yet to be installed.
As well as the break-in prior to the heavy rain, the clubs building was later caught up in flooding and was quite badly affected.
Chris mentioned that ceilings had collapsed due to the rain and the club is yet to recover from that damage. He said that he discovered about the break-in via a message that he received on Facebook Messenger.
Chris is a key worker and has been going back and forth the club after work. He went to the club at the first opportunity and discovered that one of the emergency doors was left swinging open from the break-in where he then attempted to secure the building as best as he could with very little tools available to him during the lockdown.
Upon entering the building, he also discovered that the tuck shop had been stolen from the kitchen which included things such as sweets, crisps and pop.
Chris messaged someone that lives nearby to the club who then took a walk to the building to try and find some of the missing items, including the defibrillator which unfortunately was nowhere to be seen.
He expressed his disappointment at there currently being no hope of doing any proper repairs to the club due to the restrictions in place, and said that he would like to thank Gwent Police for doing their best in the current situation.
He says that he is not too concerned about anyone getting caught, and that he would just like the AED back.
The club welcomes donations and volunteer support in order to secure and repair the club from the flood damage and break-ins. If you are able to help out, you can contact the club on Facebook.
A donation page has been set up to replace the stolen defibrillator and provide a secured unit to store the defibrillator in. The donation page can be found here.
Vitalize Radio would like to thank Lucas Cwmbran AFC and the family of Derrick “Degs” Williams for the photos included in this article.
If you have seen or heard of anything that you believe may be connected to the break-in, call 101 or message Gwent Police on Facebook and state the crime reference number – 69/18.04.2020.