Manager 'deeply saddened' after North Merchiston Club office is ransacked for petty cash

The manager of the North Merchiston Club has spoken of her shock and sadness after their cafe and office were ransacked in a break-in on Saturday afternoon.

By Sean Murphy
Sunday, 12th April 2020, 8:11 pm
The thieves ransacked the office during an opportunistic day time raid. Picture: Daniel Cranmer
The thieves ransacked the office during an opportunistic day time raid. Picture: Daniel Cranmer

Catherine Lowe, who has run the club for over a decade, explained that the fact she believes it must have been someone local has made her feel even worse.

Catherine explained that her team were already feeling down about the fact that the club, which ran over 40 activities and had around a thousand people a week using its facilities, had been forced to close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“To do this now when we are already struggling due to being closed is just the lowest of the low, this club has brought a lot of joy to a lot of people here over the years and to see our office trashed like this just makes me really angry. They didn't have to do that.”

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Several items were damaged in the raid. Picture: Daniel Cranmer

The community club manager added that the fact that it happened on a Saturday afternoon when there is usually a lot of people around means the people involved must have wanted to take advantage of the lockdown.

She explained that a selection of alcohol which they had brought in for a fundraiser to raise money for a new IT system before the country was put into lockdown was stolen, along with petty cash left for one of the team to do some decorating and a few trophies from their cabinet.

Most disheartening though, according to Catherine, was the fact that the cafe till and office computer had been irreparably damaged by the thieves, something she insists they didn’t have to do.

Catherine believes there was more than one person involved, as they had moved a lot of heavy exercise equipment to the back door of the club – which backs onto Harrison Park – to come back for later on.

“The fact that had it been 24 hours earlier I would have been in the club alone during the break-in has left me feeling really scared to be alone in the club going forward – I’ve never felt like that before, I shouldn’t have to feel like that.”

She added that it was heartening that already, only 24 hours after the event, many people from the local community, including local councillor Gavin Corbett had been in touch to offer their support and ask how they could help.

Posting on his Twitter page, Mr Corbett wrote: “So dispiriting to hear that North Merchiston Club was broken into yesterday leaving damage at £ thousands. The club is a huge asset to the area and celebrates its 100th birthday next year. I've been in touch with the manager to see how we can help and I'll post any details here.”

Speaking about how people can help, Catherine explained that the club already has a Just Giving page, set up to keep them going during the coronavirus crisis, and said that if anyone wishes to help they could so by donating there.

She added that she won’t let the thieves win and that she hopes the club will come back better than before and be around to serve the community “for another 100 years”.

The Just Giving Page can be found here