Raids misery at Doncaster youth club

Trustee Les Turner outside Shakers cafe which was recently broken into
Trustee Les Turner outside Shakers cafe which was recently broken into

Concerned community leaders are calling for help after criminals targeted their Doncaster youth club twice in a week.

The Shakers youth café in Askern has suffered thousands of pounds of damage and seen important pieces of equipment stolen in the spate of break-ins.

Star of TV show Storage Hunters, Jesse McClure visits the Sweet Deals stall at Doncaster market

Star of TV show Storage Hunters, Jesse McClure visits the Sweet Deals stall at Doncaster market

Now volunteers who run the centre, on High Street, are urging the public to give them backing to help them both continue helping youngsters in the town and find the culprits.

The first of the two break-ins happened in the early hours of a Sunday morning, and saw the thieves break in and steal a safe. They also caused thousands of pounds of damage to fire doors.

Five days later, a second raid saw thousands of pounds more damage, and the theft of a television used by youngsters who use the facility to play video games.

The Shakers cafe is used by up to 80 youngsters a night, and is open two nights a week as a youth café. The same building is also used one night a week as a youth club.

Trustee Les Turner outside Shakers cafe which was recently broken into

Trustee Les Turner outside Shakers cafe which was recently broken into

Margaret Turner, a volunteer at the club and whose husband Les is one of its trustees, said: “It’s so disheartening. All the volunteers that go to Shakers are upset. We give up our time to help the youth of Askern and there are a handful of people who spoil this.

“These people have no respect for property or themselves. The youngsters are angry because they have lost their television.

“We are trying to help people’s children, by giving them a safe play to go in the evenings. If they know anything about this, then they should please let us know.

“We have no replacement for the television lined up yet, but we are determined to keep the café running and keep the venue on track despite these set-backs.

The break-ins happened on Sunday, March 28, at 1am, and on Good Friday, April 3, at about 8.30am.

Officials believe the Good Friday raid would have been visible from the nearby Askern Lake.

It is not the first time the centre has been targeted by criminals – five years ago, it saw a similar spate of break-ins.

Volunteers at the centre are working with police to try to find the people who have targeted it and are urging the public to come forward with any information. It is understood officers have looked at closed-circuit television footage to try to find the culprits.

Trustee Mr Turner and chairman Harvey Field have worked to repair much of the damage that was caused to the building.

Shakers was opened in 2007, but suffered an early set-vandals caused damage.

Initial work on the site at the back of Alexander House was held up by three nights of disturbances, which included setting fire to machinery, pushing over a portable toilet, leaving nails under the tyres of a dumper truck, and pushing down an entire wall of bricks which had been stacked the previous day.

When workmen began digging down on the land, they found a huge hole, which turned out to be the cellars of the previous 90-room Askern Hydro Spa hotel, which was later replaced by Askern Miners’ Welfare until that was pulled down in the 1960s.

The idea of a 1950s-style coffee bar came from Campsmount School pupils, after Ed Miliband, Doncaster North MP, undertook a survey to see what teens would most like for their town.

It was described at the time as the first project of its kind in the country.