Coach stunned as ‘helper’ robs rugby players

Woodlands Memorial Ground, Blackpool Road, Ansdell
Woodlands Memorial Ground, Blackpool Road, Ansdell
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A rugby coach has told of his shock after a conman befriended his team at a Fylde sports club – before ruthlessly stealing items valued at more than £2,500 from them.

Players from Cinderford Rugby Club were left angered after finding mobile phones, wallets, bank cards, watches and personal items were stolen during their game at Fylde Rugby Club on Saturday.

The brazen thief introduced himself to players, helped the team with their kit, carried tackle bags and medical equipment, before convincing the players to hand over their items to be kept safe – only to steal the valuables.

Andy Deacon, Cinderford director of rugby, told The Gazette: “People come to support rugby clubs in a safe environment and people like to volunteer.

“It’s so disappointing when they prey on the good nature of people like this. Many of the lads were distraught because the items were personal to them and of sentimental value.”

Mr Deacon said standard practice at most clubs is to hand items over for safe-keeping or leave valuables on the team bus – with no players questioning the thief’s actions. The thief is described as 50-60 years old, with grey shoulder-length wavy hair, wearing dark blue jeans and a brown jacket. He spoke with a northern accent.