BURGLARS have caused hundreds of pounds of damage when they smashed their way into a clubhouse.

Redcar Athletic Junior FC, on Green Lane, Redcar, was targeted overnight between Sunday and Monday.

And not only does the break-in hit the young footballers - it also affects elderly people who use the building as an Age UK centre.

Having failed to force open a security door, the raiders smashed the referee’s changing room window to gain entry.

They then went from room to room inside the building, opened in 2006 by former Boro boss Gareth Southgate after a £730,928 Football Foundation grant.

Groundsman and caretaker Paul Wilson discovered the break-in on Monday morning.

As well as causing several hundred pounds’ worth of damage to locks and fittings, the burglars made off with a safe containing Age UK cash. They even fled with four cases of lager bought by the club’s senior section.

He said: “It’s the financial implications. We can’t afford to be spending money we haven’t got.

“The poor old football club is footing the bill but we can’t afford to.

“We’re going to need a new back door and because it’s a security door, it won’t be cheap. And there’s lots of other damage.”

Age UK Teesside chief executive Elizabeth Briggs said: “It’s not really the material loss, it’s the impact, the intrusion and the sense of loss of security for everyone that uses the centre.

“For the people who did it, it might just be a bit of fun but it will impact on local people young and old. We’ll have to take it on the chin, but we’ll also have to look at the viability of future services in the building.”

Witnesses, or anyone with information, should contact PC Stephen Woodacre (CORR) at Redcar and Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.