Youngsters at a children’s football club were left devastated after thieves stole money they’d saved up for a dream trip.
Falkirk Soccer Academy stars spent three months fundraising to cover the cost of a jaunt to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United take on Chelsea on August 11.
Plans were also made to use part of the large three-figure sum children and parents had generated to spend a day at Sky High Trampolining in Bankside and go for a meal at Pizza Hut.
However, coaches at the Glen Village-based football club had to break the news to youngsters that their changing room facilities in Falkirk Road had been broken into by youths — some who are believed to be as young as nine — on Saturday afternoon.
A cash box containing the money the young footballers had gathered through a prize bingo night and cake sale, among other fundraisers, was stolen.
A television, a PlayStation 3 and games were also smashed during the break-in, which took place just three days before the start of a summer camp.
Despite initial concerns over the loss of the cash, a police investigation has helped to recover a portion of the final total and Falkirk Soccer Academy coaches have vowed to ensure next month’s trip to Manchester goes ahead.
There is still, however, a sense of both frustration and sadness that the incident took place given how well-received the academy has been since launching two years ago.
Assessing the impact the break-in has had, Falkirk Soccer Academy owner Sean Witt said: “The kids are gutted but, either way, the trip’s not going to get cancelled.
“We will try to recover some funds.
“The glass was all over the place.
“It took more than two-and-a-half hours to clean it up.
“The TV cost about £100 and the PS3 was about £120 second-hand.
“A set of strips were put in the shower area too and the water was turned on.
“We’ve been running since January 2017. We haven’t had any issues at all, it’s been the polar opposite.
“We’ve been pretty well supported by the community.
“A group of youths come down and we give them nets for free.
“It’s just ourselves who use the facility but we have a number of different programmes.
“It’s annoying because we haven’t been the kind of club to chase anybody away.
“It’s been a moment of madness and I don’t think that this will happen again, at least I hope not.”
Falkirk Soccer Academy coaches are aiming to raise some cash between themselves and parents before the group, comprising around 30 children and mums and dads, head down south to watch the clash between the Premier League giants.
Donations from anyone able and willing to spare some money would also be gratefully received.
Sean continued: “The trip will still be going ahead but if anybody wants to help out that would be fantastic.”
A JustGiving page has been created to allow for donations to support the Falkirk Soccer Academy children’s trip.
Click here to donate.
Sergeant Andy Angus said: “Police inquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible for a break-in to a changing facility in Glen Village.”
Falkirk Soccer Academy offers a variety of football coaching sessions for children as young as 18 months up to 11-year-olds.
The club is holding a number of upcoming summer camps which will run from Monday, July 29 to Friday, August 2; Monday, August 12 to Friday, August 16; and on Monday, August 19 and Tuesday, August 20.
Call 07513238291 or visit the website to book.