Calderdale sports club could fall apart after repeated raids

Illingworth Sports and Social Club broken in to again. Illingworth RL under 14s girls and boys outside the clubhouse.

Illingworth Sports and Social Club broken in to again. Illingworth RL under 14s girls and boys outside the clubhouse.

A sports club that provides football and rugby to hundreds of children in Halifax is it risk of collapsing after being repeatedly targeted by vandals.

The clubhouse at Illingworth Sports and Social Club, which is home to Crossley Juniors AFC and Illingworth Juniors RLFC, has been hit five times in six months by burglars who have taken stock and caused severe damage.

Crossley Juniors vice chairman Craig Naylor said: “Ultimately if we can’t afford to keep it then the whole structure collapses.

“We might have to stop providing junior football and rugby. In that case they would have to travel a long way and a lot of poor people live in north Halifax so these kids may not end up going anywhere else.

“That can have a knock-on effect with crime and health if they are not being distracted by playing sport. It would be an enormous blow to the whole district of Halifax.”

In the most recent incident he said that burglars had entered the building “like a military operation”, left one of the lager pumps turned on so all the liquid would drain onto the floor and used the club’s bins to carry out stolen property.

Mr Naylor, who played at the club as a child and has sat on the board for 13 years, explained that costs for repairs at the clubhouse, at Mason Green, Keighley Road, on top of ongoing bills meant the club had little money available for essential equipment.

He said the building was in “a terrible state and is not fit for purpose” and did not have the necessary space to accommodate facilities for girls’ rugby, which he said was increasing in popularity. He said he understood the difficulty that Calderdale Council, which owns the land, was face with due to cuts.

The vandalism follows a similar ransacking of Boothtown Community Centre last summer, which was left in ruins but has since been taken over and restored by Boothtown Terriers Juniors.