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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Thieves broke into Dartford and Crayford Sea Cadets’ base, next to Brooklands Lake, Dartford and stole gas canisters

22 March 2014
by Alex Matthews

Youngsters are reeling after their Sea Cadet unit was broken into and gas canisters stolen.

Fifteen gas canisters, six full of fuel and nine empty, were taken and a wall and some plumbing were damaged when thieves broke into Dartford and Crayford Sea Cadets’ base, next to Brooklands Lake, Dartford.

The offenders smashed through the gates before forcing their way into the building. A large white van had been spotted in the area earlier.

Dartford Sea Cadets will now have to raise more than £1,000 to repair the damage and replace the stolen gas canisters.

Dartford Sea Cadets will now have to raise more than £1,000 to repair the damage and replace the stolen gas canisters.

Each gas canister costs £100 to replace but the exact cost of repairs is unknown.

It means the group has no hot water, heating or gas for cooking.

Those undertaking the Silver Stewardship qualification, where cadets are taught silver service and food preparation, have had to put their studies on hold.

The group has 30 young members between 10 and 18. The Sea Cadets is a charity-funded organisation and relies on donations.

Petty Officer Emma Dawson, 38, said it was “heart breaking”.

She said: “It really has deprived the kids. Each unit doesn’t get funding from the MoD, unlike the Army and Air Cadets.”

The damage was discovered when the cadets came in for weekend drill practice ahead of a national competition.

Since the break-in on Friday, March 8, they have struggled to focus.

The gas piping left ripped-off by the thugs after their raid on the sea cadet unit

The gas piping left ripped-off by the thugs after their raid on the sea cadet unit

PO Dawson said: “At practice, the kids’ hearts weren’t in it because of what happened.

“They’re a great bunch but this knocked them because they take a lot of pride in their unit and their unit was violated by a bunch of thugs.”

PO Dawson said a lot of young people under her command had gone on to have successful careers both in the Navy or in civilian life, often because of skills picked up at the unit.

She said: “Why is someone trying to deprive the kids when we trying to provide them with a good start in life?

“I’ve got three cadets that have just got into the Navy. One has just come back from the Philippines and helps out when he’s on leave, and I’ve got one cadet who did his silver service with me who is now a chef at a top London restaurant.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 and quote 08-0450.

If you can help buy new gas canisters or carry out repairs, call 01322 225730.

Click here for more news from Dartford.

Click here for more news from around the county.

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