A THIEF who broke into a sports club and dragged a safe down a set of stairs and halfway across a field before abandoning it gave himself a hernia.

Bosses at East Lancashire Sports Club said the club in Dukes Brow, Blackburn was targeted in the early hours of this morning.

Officials said one man attempted to steal ‘a rather large safe’ from the clubhouse causing lots of damage to the doors and window at the entrance.

The burglary is the third this week with Cherry Tree Cricket Club and Feniscowles Cricket Club also being targeted.

Officials said the safe was so heavy the hapless thief gave himself a hernia.

An East Lancashire Sports Club spokesman said: “In the early hours of this morning, one male attempted to steal a rather large safe from the clubhouse, with a mass amount of damage caused, mainly to the wannabe thief.

“While there was damage to the window and doors of the entrance to the clubhouse, in what was the third club to be hit last night in addition to others during the week, the ‘gentleman’ in question was less successful in his get away, leaving a story that could only be rivalled by a Peter Kay sketch.

“Once entering the clubhouse, the Butch Cassidy impersonator caught eye of a rather large safe. To his credit, to get down the stairs and half way across the playing field was a huge achievement not to be sniffed at. Achievements for him stopped there.

“Giving yourself a hernia in the process of this feat of physical endurance, dropping the safe, to which has helped Chris Turner and John Seedle in their expedition to the drains, hopefully dislodging the blockage in the process, jumping over the gate to your get-away vehicle and being boxed in by two cars manned by our finest in blue as soon as you pull out, I am sure wasn’t part of the grand plan. While writing off two Panda cars, we presume his Bonnie and Clyde inspired motor is in a similar state.

“Unfortunately, one of the police officers was injured in the process and which we wish him a speedy and full recovery.

“To bring a smile to all our faces, we’d like to point out the following; If the swag had made it back to the hide out, our anti-hero of the piece had managed to unlock the safe, for which the key was lost for two years ago (visions of blow torches, drills and chainsaws swimming round in the mind here) we are sure he would have been overjoyed that he would have found the match ball that JT has been after for the past couple of seasons and nothing else. An estimated value of £18.59 – if he had just spoken to Andy Pratt he’d have got one at a steal anyway.

“It seems he couldn’t even get the old analogy of “taking his bat and ball home” correct.

“Obviously we all at East Lancashire, Feniscowles, Cherry Tree and the other clubs he may have shown great interest in of late, hope his abdominal muscles are put back in place ‘relatively’ pain free and at not too much expense to the NHS and the tax payers, so that he will be fit enough for his no doubt impending trial and hopeful stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

“A huge thank you must go to the officers from Lancashire Constabulary for their efforts last night.”

Police later confirmed three people at the scene had been arrested.

A police spokesman said: “Reports of an intruder alarm sounded at the East Lancashire Sports Club early yesterday morning.

“They came in at 4.30am and sounded the intruder alarm at the premises.

“Police arrived and a patrol team came in quickly and landed in the area.

“Three people got into a vehicle at the scene.

“They rammed the police vehicle but were detained on the grounds of burglary.

"Three people are now in custody. Enquiries are ongoing.”