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Arson attack at Birkenhead St Mary's CC
Sunday 5th October 2014

Vandals burgled a Wirral cricket club before setting fire to the lounge, causing £50,000 of damage and scorching a memorial to a former player.

Raiders who broke into Birkenhead St Mary’s stole alcohol and a small amount of cash from the clubhouse bar, but worse was to follow as they set the building on fire when they left – destroying the furnishings, historic club memorabilia and trophies.

Treasurer Bill McGenity (pictured left) discovered the attack at the club, which is home to three teams and has 60 members.

He said: "The break in isn't the end of the world - but to set the fire as well has made a right mess."

Bill, a club legend and former captain, said: "The fire brigade attended but it had burnt itself out by the time we arrived, but the smoke damage has destroyed all the stuff on the walls - lots of photos, memorabilia and some trophies are badly damaged and the bar is a mess."

A talented player, Bill's son Stephen tragically died following a brain haemorrhage last year, and a memorial to the former St John Plessington student sits in the lounge. A framed shirt with Stephen's picture on was scorched by the flames. Luckily it has not been severely damaged, with Bill relieved the memorial remains "salvageable".

However the damage to the building is severe enough that the walls and ceiling may need replacing, with loss adjusters estimating repairs will cost in the region of £50,000.

The club is covered for the structural damage through an insurance policy with the English Cricket Board but will have to find around £10,000 to refurbish the lounge and bar.

The attack will further hit the club's pockets as, although the season is over, the Ashville Road building is a popular venue for functions in the close season.

Bill added: "There are a couple of bottles of spirits and beer gone and a little bit of cash but their gain is so small for the damage they’ve caused. It’s crazy."

Looking to recover from the attack, the club would be grateful for any assistance with the refurbishment.

Bill can be contacted at BSMCC@sky.com by anyone wishing to support the clean up.

A spokesman for Merseyside Police confirmed the force was investigating a suspected burglary and arson at the cricket club.

He said: "Officers were called just after 10:00am last Tuesday to a report that St Mary’s Cricket Club on Ashville Road had been subjected to a burglary and arson attack. No one was injured during the incident which is believed to have happened overnight. Enquiries are underway in relation to the matter."

Call Merseyside Police on 101 if you have any information about the attack.

see also:-

Club's pavilion gutted in arson attack (2003)

Vandals attack again at Birkenhead St Mary's (2008)