Vandals cost football club thousands

JAY BOREHAM
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013
Vandals
CAUGHT IN THE ACT: Footage of the vandals at work in Mangere United Football Club.

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Vandals are wrecking a football club's efforts to make its name on the world stage.

The Mangere Centre Parks Association has spent a good part of the past month and thousands of dollars bolstering security at Mangere United's clubrooms and meeting with Auckland Council, the police and its insurance company.

It is time and money that could have been better spent on getting the fields up to scratch for top events and securing more international fixtures, club president and former New Zealand Football Association chief executive Noel Robinson said.

''We have some really long-term developments we are trying to plan for this place and it's not happening. 

''They are being frustrated by having to deal with petty issues like break-ins and vandalism.''

The Robertson Rd clubrooms have been plagued by petty thefts and vandals for the past six months.

The building was attacked repeatedly and burgled over four nights in mid-January. 

The outside was covered in graffiti, windows were smashed, doors ripped out and the bar raided. The interior was completely trashed in one attack on January 14, Robinson said.

''They pulled out security cameras, sensors and made holes in the walls.'' 

The clubroom's alarms went off each time but the offenders still had enough time to carry out their ''mindless'' acts, Robinson said.

They came back on February 3 to give the clubrooms another round of graffiti and try another break-in.

Mangere United has had a long history of vandalism, particularly in the 1990s, Robinson said.

''Then in 2005 they set fire to the place.''

Out of the ashes rose a $2 million, two-storey, 650-seat pavilion and clubhouse which opened at the start of 2011.

It netted the club hosting rights for Oceania qualifying matches for the Fifa under-20 World Cup ahead of North Harbour Stadium that year and has since scored a number of international fixtures.

The club thought its new home would put an end to the problems. 

Architects designed the building to be hard to target and added the best security measures available, Robinson said.

''It's coming up to three years old now and until about six months ago it was brilliant.

''We had no problems, everything seemed to be bang on and then we started getting hit in one form or another.''

The club has upgraded its security systems and police have CCTV footage of the offenders along with finger prints and blood samples.

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Constable Alana Sullivan said investigations were continuing.

- Auckland Now

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