COMMUNITY businesses have stepped in to help a Bromley-Pensnett scout group who were left “gutted” after thieves ransacked their hut and stole thousands of pounds worth of equipment.

Andrew Garratt, leader of 1st Bromley – Pensnett Scout Group, which meets in Bromley three times a week, discovered the break-in on September 24 and found the hut stripped of its expensive camping equipment – including ten six-man tents set to be used during a camping trip later this month.

The burglars, who targeted the hut sometime between September 19-24, used a crowbar to jimmy open the front door before causing thousands of pounds of damage in their wake as they ripped off cupboard doors to find their haul.

Other items stolen from the HQ include an electric generator, kitchen equipment, a vacuum cleaner, an axe, a lawn mower and a bow saw.

The thieves even took the children’s tuckshop sweets, but sat and ate most of them before making their escape – leaving behind the wrappers in the middle of the floor.

The break-in at the scout hut, which is regularly used by 60 plus Beavers, Cubs and Scouts aged from five to 16, is the second in three months, but the group was uninsured and is now left facing huge fundraising efforts to purchase and replace the stolen and damaged equipment.

Lisa Passmore fundraising committee volunteer, said: “We are all totally gutted.

“These people should be ashamed of themselves, one for stealing from a charity and two for depriving the kids in their local community of having somewhere to go and something worthwhile to do in the evenings, which in this day and age is extremely scarce.”

However leaders have been heartened by the reaction of community businesses, who have come to their aid in their hour of need.

In the last few days the group has been donated an ex-display gazebo from Halfords, internal doors from Wickes, seven tents, two bow saws and two axes from Thermofax and a vacuum cleaner from Geoff Hill.

Meanwhile Sandwell company your style window solutions has fitted a new security front door at a reduced cost and Netherton company TLM Alarms has supplied and fitted a burglar alarm free of charge.

Lisa added: “The response has been wonderful.

“To think that there are generous people out there that aren’t just motivated by what’s in it for them is great.”

The group, which had to temporarily cancel its meetings as the building was made safe, are now looking at holding fundraising events to replace the items and to purchase building and contents insurance for the year.

Fundraisers planned include bingo at the hut on October 13 and 27 from 2pm until 4pm – entrance is £1.50 and a spooky evening with a clairvoyant on Friday 26 from 7pm – entrance is £5.

Anyone who can help the group can contact Lisa on 0771 960 9017.