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Community rallies around local football club after £200 worth of match balls stolen before they had been used

PUBLISHED: 14:03 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:03 13 November 2018

Hockering Football Club had £200 worth of match balls stolen. Picture: Supplied by Hockering FC.

Hockering Football Club had £200 worth of match balls stolen. Picture: Supplied by Hockering FC.

Archant

A local football club has received an overwhelming show of support from the local community after their brand new match balls worth around £200 were stolen before they had even been used.

Hockering Football Club had £200 worth of match balls stolen. Picture: Supplied by Hockering FC.Hockering Football Club had £200 worth of match balls stolen. Picture: Supplied by Hockering FC.

Hockering FC had purchased the new match balls and stored them in a container which was locked up by club secretary and first team manager Derrick Johnson.

However, the container was broken into at some point between 7pm on Monday November 5 and 6:30am on Tuesday November 6 and the new match balls were taken.

A GoFundMe page set up to raise money to purchase new footballs has now received £210, with the extra money raised being donated to the Royal British Legion.

Mr Johnson said: “We didn’t have the cash to buy the new balls. We thought it would take a few weeks to raise the money but within 24 hours it was done.

Hockering Football Club had £200 worth of match balls stolen. Picture: Supplied by Hockering FC.Hockering Football Club had £200 worth of match balls stolen. Picture: Supplied by Hockering FC.

“I got a call in the morning saying the container was open. The locks were left snapped on the floor. I went in to look if the balls were in the bag and they were gone.

“Thank you to each and everyone of you who retweeted our messages regarding the theft. Incredibly, we have achieve our goal of £200 in less than 24 hours. Thanks to every single person who contributed.”

Nothing else was taken from the container except the new match balls and businesses such as Tesco, Tenacity Interiors and the owner of pubs in Dereham and Swaffham have donated to the cause.

Police said they are currently investigating the incident.

Mr Johnson added: “We have bought extra locks to stop them from being snapped off. We don’t want this to happen again.

“Footballs are the second biggest outlay, possibly the biggest, especially when the pitch is surrounded by thorn bushes.”

Mr Johnson has now purchased new balls for all three Hockering FC teams to use.

Anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area between the dates stated, or anyone with information, should contact Norfolk Police on 101 or report via the website www.norfolk.police.uk

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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