‘A theft from the community’

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A BREAK-IN at Whiteabbey Community Centre has been described as ‘a theft from the community’.

Thieves smashed a window and broke through a door to gain entry to the Glenville Road building some time overnight between Tuesday, February 1 and Wednesday, February 2.

A sum of cash was stolen from an office and volunteers at the centre believe inside knowledge may have helped the thieves.

“They knew exactly what they were going for,” said Kathy Wolff of the Newtownabbey Community Forum.

“There is a DVD player, Xbox and television all left untouched - they just took the cash.

“There would not normally have been money left in the centre, but there was on this occasion because it had been a particularly busy period.

“This is devastating for the group - they will have to replace a window and door and all the other expenses as well as losing the actual cash.”

Chair of Whiteabbey Community Group, Margaret King, described the theft as a blow to the community, and told the Times: “It’s gutting.

“This is a centre that provides for the whole community, we have drama groups, an Over 50s club, Irish dancing and bingo, plus lots more, it’s very busy.

“We are also preparing for a cross-community play, ‘The Rules of the Game’, which we are touring across Northern Ireland.

“I can’t understand the mentality of those that have done this, it is their own centre and their own community they are stealing from.

“But we won’t be put off by this. Thanks to everyone who helped with the clear-up, nothing was badly affected and we are able to continue as normal.”

The group’s play, The Rules of the Game will be performed in Ballyearl’s Courtyard Theatre tomorrow and Saturday (February 12) starting at 7.30pm, and entry is free.

Condemning those behind the theft, South Antrim MLA Danny Kinahan said: “This was money stolen from the community, and unfortunately with the rest of the damage done, does nothing but prevent the community from benefiting.

“In days like these when funds are hard to come by, this sort of theft is a total disgrace.”

Local police have appealed for information about the theft. Detectives can be contacted at Newtownabbey Station on 0845 600 8000. Details about crime can also be passed on anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.