Charity event marred by “selfish vandals” who stole equipment

PUBLISHED: 12:54 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:03 14 May 2018

Equipment was vandalised during the event

Equipment was vandalised during the event

Archant

A charity event aimed at supporting people with brain injuries was marred after “selfish vandals” stole and sabotaged electrical equipment.

The West Anglian Orienteering Club (WAOC) organised a two-part sprint event to take place at Priory Park and Loves Farm on Saturday. It was the club’s first competition in St Neots and more than 100 competitors, travelling from all over the country, took part.

All profits from the event, which sees competitors locating electronic checkpoints as fast as possible but using only maps and a compass, were for the brain injury charity, Headway Cambridgeshire.

Course planner, Stephen Borrill, told The Hunts Post the timing boxes had no resale value, but the loss would impact on the club’s finances.

“It was the first time an event like this had been held in St Neots and the maps were newly drawn for this event with a view to it being the first of many,” said Mr Borrill.

“The first race in Priory Park went without a hitch and was enjoyed by competitors from as young as six up to some in their mid-80s. Unfortunately, early in the second race, at around 11.40am, two of the checkpoints at Loves Farm were vandalised and the electronic timing boxes were stolen.”

The checkpoints were close to Fox Brook and were tied to trees with metal wires. One had been tied to a branch, which had been snapped off to remove the checkpoint. On the other, the wire had been cut.

“The timing boxes have no resale value and are useless by themselves,” explained Mr Borrill.

He added: “The vandalism affected many of the competitors as well as having a financial cost for the club which is particularly significant as profits for the event were going to charity. The timing boxes are red with a hole at one end. They have white stickers on the top with the numbers 60 and 61 on and the word ‘Sportident’ on the underside.”

A second event is being held at Hinchingbrooke Country Park on June 23. For more information about orienteering, go to: www.waoc.org.uk.

If you have any information about the equipment, email: equipment@waoc.org.uk.

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