Thieves strike at Lido

PUBLISHED: 12:11 25 June 2010 | UPDATED: 09:50 01 August 2010

VOLUNTEERS behind the re-opening of Beccles Lido say they are “sickened” after thieves struck as the final efforts are made to open the pool this summer.

VOLUNTEERS behind the re-opening of Beccles Lido say they are “sickened” after thieves struck as the final efforts are made to open the pool this summer.

Thieves got into the site, which was secured with a padlocked gate, and escaped with a bizarre collection of items overnight between 5pm on Sunday, and 8am the following day.

One of the directors of Beccles Lido, Maureen Saunders, said volunteers found two of the new picnic benches broken in the road outside.

One picnic table was stolen, along with more than a dozen white plastic chairs that had come from Halesworth's now closed outdoor pool, and six bags of shingle.

Mrs Saunders said: “We think they went over the fence because there was a stack of chairs still there and one of the benches was on the other side of the fence.

“When I realised what had happened I was just so angry. We've had so much good will - we've had help from everybody and anybody, younger people as well as older people. Everything we have got has been bought with money that has been donated and I feel angry that we've got this percentage of people who think that they can go and help themselves.”

She added: “It's sickening.”

She said it would be appreciated if the items were returned, or if the people involved made a donation to the lido.

Volunteers now have to stop what they are doing to repair the broken tables and are working to improve security at the site on Puddingmoor, which includes putting up 8ft-high fencing and a metal gate.

Mrs Saunders said the setback would not stop the lido from opening as scheduled. She said once the crack in the pool has been repaired, the pool will be re-lined then filled with water, which takes two weeks, followed by up to another month to heat the water.

She said: “We are hoping to open at the end of July or the beginning of August - it's still a bit flexible depending on how the work goes.”

Beccles Lido was set up after Waveney District Council gave up the running of the pool in April 2009, saying it was no longer financially viable, and the facility remained closed last summer when it was due to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

As volunteers give it a new lick of paint, plans are in the pipeline to reinstate a springboard, put in a waterslide, and create a Mediterranean corner with hanging baskets. Picnic tables, flowers, and a kitchen serving light refreshments will help create a friendly and fun atmosphere.

Mrs Saunders said that people familiar with the outdoor pool would be pleased that the small pool will be heated to the same temperature as the main pool, at a balmy 28 degrees.

“We are going to be swamped,” she said. “I think people will love it and kids will love it. It's going to be a really good facility.”

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