RAM-raiding thieves stole a minibus and smashed their way out through the closed gates of a cricket club.
The thieves stuck overnight on Sunday/Monday after hammering off the lock to a garage.
Thieves used the minibus to smash out of the Central Park compound at Connah’s Quay Cricket Club, straight through locked gates causing substantial damage to the gates.
The minibus is used to take the club’s junior teams to away fixtures.
Club officials and community leaders have hit out at the culprits.
It is the second time the club has been targeted by thieves in recent months after playing equipment was stolen earlier this year.
The latest incident could see security cameras installed.
Jack Smith, secretary, said: “It is very demoralising.
“People put a lot of effort into the club and it is a big part of the community.
“They have driven straight out through the gates and this leaves the kids without transport.
“We are shocked and disappointed.
“We have prioritised making the club a safe place and now this has happened.”
The raid was discovered by a dog walker yesterday morning at about 8am.
It is believed the thieves climbed over the fence using a stepladder before hammering off the lock to the garage and stealing the vehicle.
The white 17-seat Ford Transit minibus was recovered by police about a mile from the club on Fron Road a few hours after the crime was reported to them.
Groundsman Dave Jones said: “One of the neighbours heard a big bang at about midnight and that’s when we think the minibus may have been stolen.
“We will need to buy new steel and mesh and spend time making new gates.
“There will be a meeting to discuss these concerns as well as looking at the possibility of installing security cameras around the club.”
Connah’s Quay and Flintshire councillor Bernie Attridge described those responsible as scum and said: “People at the cricket club put their time into helping youngsters play cricket.
“It is very disappointing for the club and I hope those responsible can be brought to book.”
PC Martin Price, of the Connah's Quay Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are appealing to anyone who may have seen anything suspicious either in the area of the theft or where the vehicle was found, to contact the police.”
Anyone with information should call the police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, quoting reference RC14098802.