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Thieves steal football pitch in Brighton
Brazen thieves stole a £20,000 mobile football pitch from a community group.
The criminals removed a wheel lock to tow away a trailer containing Brighton and Hove's Soccerena from Woodingdean Youth Centre on Wednesday morning.
Up to 60 youths a week use the equipment at football sessions in Central Park, Woodingdean.
At least one person at the centre saw men arrive, attach the trailer to a small white van with a towbar and drive off.
“We are gutted. I can't believe somebody would do that.
“It beggars belief that someone could do that in broad daylight.”
She said she does not believe the thieves knew what was inside the white trailer when they took it.
The Soccerena is made up of graffitied wooden boards and metal poles.
When assembled they form a pitch 18 metres by 12 metres, for five-a-side, basketball, cricket, netball, tennis and badminton.
Brighton and Hove City Council acquired the pitch in 2008 and used it for sports sessions at areas where antisocial behaviour had been reported.
Since Woodingdean Youth Centre took it over, youth workers have run their My Bus at the same time as football sessions, to provide outreach support for young people.
Coun Simson said she believed the thieves would not know what the equipment was even once they looked at the trailer's con¬tents, and urged them to return it.
She said: “I think they are going to scrap the metal and burn the wood.
“We'd ask them to return it. If we could just get the Soccerena back we could carry on with the project.
“We'd ask scrap dealers to be on the lookout, too.”
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Sussex Police on 101.