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Five village halls broken into

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:01 01 August 2010

POLICE are urging key holders and caretakers of village halls to be vigilant following a spate of five break-ins in south Norfolk.

Village halls in Broome, Ditchingham, Denton, Woodton and Brooke have been targeted over the past week although there have been no reports of anything of significant value being stolen.

POLICE are urging key holders and caretakers of village halls to be vigilant following a spate of five break-ins in south Norfolk.

Village halls in Broome, Ditchingham, Denton, Woodton and Brooke have been targeted over the past week although there have been no reports of anything of significant value being stolen.

Ditchingham village hall secretary, Janet Loveridge, said the culprits had ripped open locked cupboard doors and had taken a box containing a few pennies for a cancer charity during a break-in last Wednesday.

She said: “We don't know how they got in because the village hall was locked and there was no sign of a break-in.

“It was just mindless vandalism and annoying more than anything. You work very hard to try and get facilities for the village and we cannot police them 24/7.”

A spokeswoman for Broome village hall management committee said it had been broken-into overnight last Wednesday.

The spokeswoman said: “They got in through a window in the kitchen and broke into any cupboards that were locked, but nothing was stolen. There was no damage apart from muddy footprints, but we have just had the hall refurbished and it is just the thought of somebody being on our premises.”

A shed behind Brooke village hall was also targeted but nothing was taken.

Harry Mirfield, chairman of Brooke village hall committee, said: “It was a nuisance to us and we are going to put up a sign to say there is nothing of value in this shed, which there isn't. There are just a few plastic chairs and bits of wood we use for the fete, all very useful to us but of no use to anyone else.”

Police are urging caretakers to keep village hall doors and windows locked and said that good external lighting would help deter burglars.

Supt Paul Sanford of Norfolk police said: “We are urging key holders, caretakers, parish councillors or whoever is in charge of a village hall to be extra vigilant and ensure that the hall locked and secure when not in use.

“We are investigating these crimes and pursuing a number of lines of enquiry, but we would also ask for anyone with information or who has noticed anything suspicious near village halls during the past week to contact us as soon as possible.”

Anyone with any information about the break-ins or who saw anything suspicious should contact PC Lois Peters on 0845 456 4567 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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