Cash stolen

January 25, 2018

Jude Lawrence and Gary Lehre with the theft of the pool's donation box.

Increased security measures are to be investigated for the Berrigan War Memorial Pool Committee following the theft of a community donations box from the facility this week.

It comes just months after the pool was the target of vandalism, resulting in outdoor furniture and a barbecue being dumped into the deep end of the pool in September.

Committee president Sue Chisholm said it all follows a spate of bad behaviour from young pool users, which she said in one instance required the police to become involved.

Ms Chisholm said making the theft more heartbreaking was the effort of the committee and community so the pool was free to use.

She said the donation box, which was believed to contain about $100, was a community fundraising initiative to ensure that free entry could continue in the next swimming season.

‘‘It’s a shame this has happened just after we raised our $10,000 (to make the pool free or users),’’ she said.

‘‘That’s where a lot of the disappointment is coming from.’’

Fellow committee member Gary Lehre said the theft is a slap in the face to the Berrigan community.

‘‘This is one of the best community hubs in not only Berrigan but the entire shire,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re sick and tired of these constant attacks and it needs to stop. It’s not about how much money was stolen, it’s the principle.

‘‘They (the thieves) need to understand that without these volunteers and donations we wouldn’t have a free pool.’’

The alleged thieves are believed to have entered the pool through an unlocked canteen door after the pool was closed on Sunday evening.

The donation box was torn from the canteen wall where it was secured.

Ms Chisholm said the disappointment has been compounded by poor user behaviour over the summer period, which she alleges included an incident where one of the pool’s younger lifeguards was verbally abused.

‘‘The police were called and it led to a month’s ban from the pool for those youths involved,’’ Ms Chisholm said.

‘‘There are many kids that are ignoring the rules and don’t want to be told what to do by our lifeguards.’’

Ms Chisholm said in an effort to combat the issues, a new sign-in register has been introduced to help the committee members monitor pool users.

Berrigan Shire director of corporate services Matt Hansen said investigations would now also take place on how to improve security at the pool, which is a council owned asset.

‘‘We will work to ensure the roller doors are fastened and the canteen is always locked when unoccupied,’’ he said.

‘‘This is the first time there has been a big run of issues with the Berrigan pool and we’ll be working hard with committee, volunteers and lifeguards to address these issues.’’

Anyone with information regarding the theft of the pool’s donation box is asked to contact Berrigan Police on 58852305.

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