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Gravesend: Burglars steal trophies after death of league chairman

Burglars have ransacked a lock-up belonging to a popular football league chairman, just days after his death.

Gravesend man Graham East died on Tuesday, April 9, prompting a flood of tributes from people who knew him through his work running both the North Kent Football League and Dolphin Angling Centre in Gravesend.

But less than a week after his death, burglars targeted a storage container on a farm in Cobham, in which he had kept angling equipment and league trophies.

Graham East.Picture: Steve Crispe FM4172520 (8672686)
Graham East.Picture: Steve Crispe FM4172520 (8672686)

Police confirmed they are appealing for information following the burglary, which is thought to have taken place between midnight on Wednesday, April 10 and 8.40am on Friday, April 12.

Friend and North Kent league chief executive Ian Kerwood described the thieves as "lowlifes" and called on them to return the silverware.

He said the trophies would be of little value if they were melted down for their silver content, but would cost thousands of pounds to replace due to the work involved in creating them.

Mr Kerwood added: "Graham had all his left-over stock from the fishing shop in there, but they didn't take the fishing tackle. They only took the trophies.

"There was the Senior Division Shield, the Division One Shield, the GM Motors Cup, the Player of the Year trophy, the Charity Shield.

"It smacks as though someone knew they were out there. He died on Tuesday and they broke in on the weekend."

Trophies stolen from North Kent Football League chairman Graham East (8673178)
Trophies stolen from North Kent Football League chairman Graham East (8673178)

He said he had been left shocked by news of Graham's death, and had not yet been able to think of how Graham's position with the football league could be filled.

And he said the theft was particularly sickening in the light of all the work Graham had done in the community, supporting charities, helping youngsters and organising events.

"It just makes you wonder if it's worth carrying on," he said. "I was flabbergasted when I heard he'd died. I'd known him for years.

"He would help anybody."

Pictures of the trophies have been shared on social media, and trophy shops and silversmiths have been contacted around the county.

Graham's daughter Nicola East also shared pictures, posting: "Unfortunately we have had a break in my dad's lock up and some very important trophy's was stolen that belong to the North Kent Sunday Football League, we urge you to keep eyes and ears open for any information to find these for my dad. Please pm myself or my sister's Katie East and Clair Phelps and info will be dealt with in confidence."

Anyone with information can phone Kent Police on 01474 366149 quoting 46/71854/19.

See Page 13 for full tribute

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