Thieves have robbed Hawick youngsters of a sporting chance to have fun and keep fit by breaking into a metal container and making off with kit and balls at the weekend.
The volunteer-run Hawick Mini-Rugby group promotes the game among primary-age pupils in the town, and youngsters meet every Sunday on the 3G pitch at the town’sVolunteer Park.
A container owned by Live Borders housing all its sporting equipment was targeted overnight last Friday.
The lock on the container was ripped off and the culprits made off with about 30 rugby balls and other items of kit, cones and ball-bags, together worth about £300.
The break-in has saddened volunteers with the initiative, set up nine years ago as an offshoot of Hawick Rugby Club.
Co-ordinator Colin Telfer said: “The value of the items taken is only about £300, but it’s the inconvenience of the kids not having their kits, and, of course, it will have to be replaced.
“Hawick Mini-Rugby is a lot of work, but it’s for the kids and the development of rugby in the town because Hawick has a great name for rugby.
“The thieves got away with 30 rugby balls, three ball-bags and a number of bibs and cones, and half a dozen balls and other things were also found strewn about the car park.
“We are very frustrated because we now don’t have kit for training on Sunday. Collectively, we will have to see what we can do, and we have asked the common good fund and the community council for support.”
It is thought other changing facilities at the park had their locks tampered with at the weekend, though no others were broken into.
Colin added: “There’s been quite a bit of anti-social behaviour since the park was refurbished.
“There’s a lot of bother with youths chucking sticks, stones, boulders over on to the pitch, and when challenged, you just get a load of verbal abuse.”