WILLS Carnival Club may not be able to enter a cart in next year’s carnival after thieves ransacked its base, ripping out up to £4,000 worth of equipment.
The club has already faced a tough fundraising year as well as looking for a new base, and members were dealt the further blow last week at their current home at Little Sydenham Farm, off Bath Road.
Treasurer Karen Williams said: “We checked on the shed on Monday afternoon to find someone had cut the lock, broken in and stolen every cable in there they could find.
“I think they tore off the cable with bolt cutters.
“They also stole four industrial grinders which we use for dismantling the cart, and cut cables from a welder, so that’s also wrecked.
“I’d say we’re looking at £3,000 to £4,000 to replace what was taken. It cost us around that to construct our cart this year, not to mention paying insurance costs, so we’re gutted.”
Karen said the club faces an extra challenge of finding a new base by February as the landlords of its current home are retiring and selling up.
She said: “They’ve been absolutely amazing and we can’t thank them enough for their support, but we need to dismantle the cart to move, and we can’t do that without grinders.”
It’s not the first time carnival clubs were targeted this year – in September the Mercury reported how thieves stole £800 worth of power cable from Centurion CC’s cart.
“I’d say someone’s definitely targeting carnival clubs,” said Karen.
“Whoever did this has no idea of the amount of work we put into making a cart and how much it costs to take part in carnival.
“We may not be able to bring a cart out next year. It’ll be such a shame because we’ve never missed an entry.”
A police spokesman said: “The theft occurred between Saturday and Monday lunchtime when entry was gained to a shipping container and several items were taken.
“No arrests have been made and police are appealing for anyone with information to call 101.”