THIEVES have stolen thousands of pounds worth of equipment from a rugby club food hut that had been transformed thanks to community volunteers.

Newton Storm officials discovered the base – used to serve up tea, coffee and food to players and spectators on match days – had been targeted last week.

They described the break in as “devastating”.

The building was formerly a disused outhouse, but was refurbished as part of their ‘Engage with your Club’ community event over the summer.

Malcolm Hankey, the secretary of the side that is based at Crow Lane East, Newton-le-Willows, said: “It’s disgusting to see a community rugby league club targeted in this way.

We are a community club which aims to coach rugby league, but more importantly, life skills such as team work, respect and discipline.

“We keep more than 200 children and young adults healthy, fit and off the streets, but it would appear, even we aren’t immune to such appalling acts of theft.”

Mr Hankey appealed for people or organisations to donate catering equipment to replace the stolen property.

He added: “Storm volunteers donated hundreds of hours of their time to help convert it into a usable facility.

“The aim was to provide a facility that could raise valuable funds to help keep the club running.

The building was fitted out with hundreds of pounds worth of catering equipment.

“The equipment, donated by local companies, together with a large quantity of frozen food, was stolen during what we believe was a planned attack.”

Contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you have details about the theft.