A THIEF left a £2,500 trail of damage when he broke into a cricket club and stole cash from the till.

The raider, who was wearing a mask, climbed under the gates of the club and smashed through doors at Cherry Tree Cricket Club, on Preston Old New Road, Blackburn, at around 1.45am on Thursday.

The thief then broke open the till behind the bar and stole £800 in cash.

The raid, which lasted less than two minutes, was caught on the recently-refurbished club’s CCTV cameras.

Ian Robertson, the owner of the cricket club, said: “The raider smashed through the patio doors but fortunately we have alarms that tip us off and our CCTV was able to catch them in the act.

“They were in the club for just 90 seconds.

“The alarm alerted us immediately and police were there within 10 to 12 minutes.

“They caused a lot of damage and the total cost of the repair will be around £2,500.

“It’s very disappointing for us to have to face this when we have recently refurbished the place.

“We are going to remain open and we won’t let this stop us.”

Courtney Thomas, the manager of the cricket club, said: “Ian let me know as soon as it happened.

“I came in the morning and cleaned up all the smashed glass on the floor.

“I was upset and gutted really.

“This has never happened before and you never think it's going to happen to you.

“It scared me as well but obviously we just have to carry on.

“Luckily we are in a tight community so we have a lot of support which is brilliant.

“The number of people who have messaged and called in to check we are OK is amazing.”

Blackburn and Ribble Glass, a glass and glazing company based on Stancliffe Street, repaired the building within 12 hours.

The cricket club, which will celebrate its first anniversary since Courtney and Ian took over the running of the club on Bonfire Night, held its regular pub quiz less than 24 hours after the break-in.

Ms Thomas added: “We carried on with our pub quiz on Thursday night and it was a really good turnout.

“Everybody asked what had happened and asked if we were OK which was really nice.”

A police spokesman said: “Someone bent some bars back on the gate and went in through a patio door.

“They then smashed in the window.

“They have taken some money from the till and then they have ran away.”

Police have said if anyone has any information regarding the incident to call 101 with the reference 114.