Crooks have targeted a community-run social club in Bermondsey for a fourth time in ten months, leaving it in desperate need of added security.
Michael Hannon, chair of St Peter & The Guardian Angels Social Club in Paradise Street, said he was “devastated” when he found the club “smashed up” just days before Christmas.
Now the club – run voluntarily by Michael and his parents since 2001 – is appealing for help to raise £1,000, to pay for added security.
“I want a high-tech alarm, something that will notify emergency services when it goes off,” said Michael, 57.
“They are breaking in and it sets off our alarm, but it only goes off for an hour. Then they go back and take what they want. Our alarm at the moment is thirty years old.
“We have bricked up the windows and but up metal bars, but who knows what they must have used to pull them off the wall.”
The News reported the first break-in at the club in April, when money raised for the British Lung Foundation was taken just hours after a fundraising party. But it appears the modest little venue shared by local friends and families had been plundered three more times.
He said in all four burglaries it was mostly alcohol that was taken from the cellar.
“They must be only getting tenners a bottle for them. It’s a hell of a lot of effort for a few hundred, but it’s the amount of damage they keep doing to the building” Michael added.
“They’re getting in and smashing the place to smithereens. Now we need new plastering and new locks.
“It takes a lot to recover from. I don’t think we would survive another burglary.”
Despite the break-in, the club opened as usual on Christmas morning for its older members to enjoy a pint, and hosted celebrations on New Year’s Eve.
Police were informed of the latest burglary, which Michael believes took place “at some point between Sunday and Tuesday [December 20]”.
Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stpeterssocialclub-paradisestreet to help with the club’s fundraising.