A COMMUNITY group has been left 'heartbroken' after equipment worth thousands of pounds was stolen from a village sports ground.

In the early hours of Thursday (September 19) morning, thieves broke through security gates and drove vehicles into the Recreation Ground at Creech St Michael where eight gazebos, lighting, tables, chairs, soft drinks and garden games were stolen from a storage building.

Police are now appealing for information regarding the theft.

The Party in the Park organising committee said the equipment was newly purchased in the summer by Creech Party in the Park for community events.

Contractors who are currently working in the recreation park and Hyde Lane also reported that their huts broken in to and equipment damaged, the Party in the Park organisers said.

A committee statement said: "We are heartbroken. Our event is run by local volunteers and our equipment is paid for by the generosity of all our local supporters who spend their hard-earned cash at our event.

"In previous years we have borrowed small gazebos, and tables and chairs, so were really pleased this year to be able to purchase new ones that could be used for years to come.

"Sadly, this will likely have a real effect on the event, and we’ll have to discuss what we may have to cut back on – this could mean cancelling our annual OAP lunch or increasing prices at the next event.

"It’s a very sad day for us."

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Creech Party in the Park (PIP) is a family-friendly community event consisting of a traditional daytime fete and evening music festival.

It is organised by local volunteers and the parish council and is a non-profit event.

PIP has donated thousands of pounds to local charities, schools and groups over the past seven years, along with funding tree planting, benches, OAP lunches and community clean-up days.

The organising committee has urged locals to check their external CCTV for any suspicious activity and anyone with information to please contact the police or the committee.

A police spokesperson said the incident happened during the early hours of Thursday, September 19.

“We've received a report of a burglary in which a cement mixer and several gazebos were among a number of items stolen from a storage unit on the Recreation Ground at Creech St Michael," they said.

“Anyone who witnessed anything is suspicious overnight Wednesday into Thursday is asked to call 101 and provide the call handler with the reference 5219217018.”