A HALF-TONNE steel safe containing £2,000 has been stolen from a cricket clubhouse.

Police have described the burglary at Edenfield Cricket Club as a 'meticulous and well planned raid'.

Security alarms were disabled and a telephone line was cut at the Gincroft Lane club.

Club officials believe a large van or lorry with a tail lift must have been used to escape with the safe, which also contained important club documents.

The till and some spirits from the bar were also taken.

Treasurer John Smithson, 70, who also oversees the bar, said that the theft was a “massive blow” for Edenfield CC.

He said: “The last phone call I ever expected to get was that the safe had gone.

“It was made of thick cast steel and was the size of a tumble dryer. Whenever we have had to move it even slightly in the past it has taken six or eight burly men to shift it.

“It’s obviously been planned out as they took off the security boxes and smashed the keypad panel to disable the alarm.

“Once they were inside they were able to get out easier because the fire door goes onto the patio.

“It’s a devastating blow to a small village club, run entirely by volunteers for the benefit of the residents of Edenfield.”

A police spokesman said the disabling of the alarm and phones showed that the raid had been “meticulously planned”.

Mr Smithson, whose son Greg captained Edenfield CC first team until last year, appealed for any information about the raid to be passed to the police.

“I would ask anyone who lives in or around the centre of the village, in particular Gincroft Lane, Market Street and Exchange Street to cast their minds back to the Tuesday night to see if they can remember seeing anything suspicious.

“I think there will have been considerable noise, including the alarm going off.”

Anyone with information about the incident between noon on December 18 and 11am the next day should call police on 101.