Mum's shock as 'five-year-old boy tries to steal her phone' outside Sheffield leisure centre

A shocked mum said a five-year-old boy tried to steal her phone outside a Sheffield leisure centre.

Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 1:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 2:55 pm

The mum, who did not wish to be named, said she was dropping her four-year-old daughter off at her swimming lesson at Thorncliffe Leisure Centre yesterday afternoon.

As she went outside to check her emails, she said a young boy approached her and tried to steal her phone from out of her hand.

The mum said she immediately reported it to a senior member of staff at the leisure centre but has warned visitors to stay vigilant.

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Thorncliffe Health & Leisure Centre. Picture Scott Merrylees

Thorncliffe Leisure Centre was forced to close on Sunday after travellers set up camp in its car park.

A statement on their Facebook page said: "Please note, due to unforeseen circumstances outside of our control, we will be closing the centre. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

The leisure centre reopened on Monday but said the travellers were still present.

They posted: “Please note, the travellers are still present but we are working to resolve the situation amicably as soon as possible.”

It is the third time in four months that travellers have set up camp at the site, which is run by Places for People.

Mark Jones, the council’s cabinet member for environment, streetscene and climate change, said: “We have visited both groups of travellers and are taking appropriate action to deal with them. In the case of the French travellers, they have stayed on the car park before and have not caused issues in the past, or indeed over the weekend. We have started a legal process which will give them until Saturday to move on.

“In the case of Thorncliffe, we are aware of several complaints from people in the area and the management of the nearby Places for People leisure centre. This is clearly unacceptable and we will be convening a multi-agency approach including South Yorkshire Police to resolve this issue quickly. We have also advised Places for People of the steps it can take to avoid this happening again. We understand the concerns of people in the area and are taking this very seriously indeed.

“We will always work with those who respect our city where ever possible.”

Only last month, travellers were ordered to leave the leisure centre, with residents claiming their presence had caused a number of fundraising events to be cancelled, and several caravans also appeared in June.

Thorncliffe Leisure Centre has been contacted for a response.