Vandals trash Boroughmuir Rugby club

Club official Graham Hepburn examines the damage caused by the vandals during their attack. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Club official Graham Hepburn examines the damage caused by the vandals during their attack. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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ONE of the Capital’s best-known rugby clubs has warned youth and community coaching could be cut after a gang of thugs raided its clubhouse and caused damage worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Shocked bosses at Boroughmuir Rugby and Community Sports Club said several doors were kicked out of their frames, with computers, CCTV equipment, alcohol and a four-figure sum of cash also stolen.

The raid, which occurred between 10pm last Monday and the early hours of the following morning, is being investigated by detectives at Lothian and Borders Police, who said they were keen to speak to five individuals seen walking towards the clubhouse in Colinton Road on the night in question.

Club chair Bill Watson said: “For a community club such as ours, this is really bad news – we’re looking at tens of thousands of pounds of damage.

“Our insurance should cover it but if not, then the youth and schools work that we are doing would be restricted.”

Mr Watson said staff at the club were left “devastated” when they discovered eight doors leading to offices and a function suite kicked in after what he branded a “vandalistic” attack. He said CCTV equipment stolen from the clubhouse was later found dumped in nearby shrubbery. It is being examined by experts to see if usable footage can be recovered.

“It’s a bad break-in – really disappointing given all we’re trying to achieve in the community,” he said.

“We’ve been pretty successful as a charity in encouraging funders and investors to get on board and that will help us get back on our feet. But if we don’t get full insurance coverage, this raid will hurt the club.

“Our club is about investing in sport and youngsters. We are currently involved in offering rugby coaching to Gillespie’s, Boroughmuir and Firrhill high schools, as well as 12 primary schools in the city.”

He said plans to increase the club’s outreach coaching activity could also be undermined.

“We have a club development officer who spends time in primary schools to get kids interested in rugby and in sport generally – it costs to offer that sort of activity,” he said

“And it would mean we have less money to afford the lets we agree for use of sports grounds in the city, which would be another knock-on effect.”

Police officers have confirmed they are still investigating the incident and called on anyone with information to come forward.

A police spokeswoman said: “Inquiries into the incident at Boroughmuir Rugby and Community Sports Club are ongoing. Recovered CCTV footage shows five individuals walking towards the club on the night in question and we would be keen to speak to them and any witnesses.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101.