Volunteers at a popular junior football club have hit out at callous thieves who ransacked their home ground for the FOURTH time.
In the latest raid at Tinsley Juniors Football Club a parent of one of the players had to chase off a gang who were smashing a lock-up with a lump hammer that contained sports equipment.
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The gang made off with several footballs in the raid at the ground off Bawtry Road at about 6.30pm on Tuesday.
This was the fourth time the ground has been targeted in the last 18 months leaving volunteers with a bill running to several thousands of pounds.
Club coach Dave Johnson, aged 43, of Aughton, said: "We had a training session due to start and when one of the parents got there they thought these lads were our players at first.
"They they noticed they were trying to break in, approached them and asked what they were doing with our footballs. Then they ran off.
"It has happened too many times now. We just want to coach kids how to pay football and it is devastating when things like this happen.
"I can't see how anyone would have a vendetta against the club and we can only assume that it is kids doing it because they are bored but that is no excuse and they don't realise how much pain they are causing."
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Despite this latest setback, the club - which four years after forming has 100 players in eight teams ranging in ages from eight to 16 - will continue.
Mr Johnson, whose son also plays for the team, added: "When things like this happen we obviously have to pay for repairs and replacements rather than on new equipment for our young players.
"But we are a club providing football for kids from across the city from all different kinds of backgrounds.
"We won't let this stop us. We will continue."
He added that the club has been in contact with Sheffield Council, which currently owns the site, about putting a larger fence around the perimeter.
The gang caught trying to break into the club's lock-up were described as several boys aged under 15.
This latest attack comes just a week after thieves smashed their goal nets and put through windows at their tuck shop cabin.
In addition, February saw another raid in which a number of items of food and drink were taken from the tuck shop cabin.
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And in October 2016 thieves stole nets, barriers, balls, training equipment, a new grass cutting tractor and a gazebo.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said officers are investigating and added: "Anyone with information is asked to report it via 101 quoting incident number 824 of 29 May."