Thieves steal tents, furniture and lifejackets from 1st Rathmines Scout Hall on eve of kids' annual camp to Pindimar

NOT AGAIN: Grace Curry and some of the young charges from 1st Rathmines Scouts pictured during their prolonged lock-out last year. Now new tents and furniture has been stolen from storage in their hall. Picture: David Stewart
NOT AGAIN: Grace Curry and some of the young charges from 1st Rathmines Scouts pictured during their prolonged lock-out last year. Now new tents and furniture has been stolen from storage in their hall. Picture: David Stewart

THIEVES have stolen dozens of items including tents, gazebos and lifejackets from 1st Rathmines Scouts just a week before the children were scheduled to travel to Hawks Nest for an annual camp.

Group Leader Grace Curry said the timing of the raid had been terrible.

“We’re going to have to think fast about how we’re going to do the Pindimar Camp,” Ms Curry said.

The group will leave on Friday for the camp at which children are taught bush craft. Parents are likely to provide their personal tents and camping gear to enable the camp to proceed.

Last year, 1st Rathmines Scouts were locked out of the hall for nine months as Lake Macquarie City Council removed asbestos discovered during routine maintenance of the building.

The enforced lock-out hit the small group’s membership hard.

And although most of the equipment locked up in the hall was cleaned and salvaged, some was destroyed.

Joeys Leader Christine Bathman, a mother of four children who attend the group, said the Scouts had fund-raised before Christmas to buy some of the items that were stolen.

“One of the gazebos they took cost us $299, and we’d only had it for six weeks,” Ms Bathman said.

“It’s really disappointing. They even took our trestle tables and eskies.”

Ms Curry said this second setback had been hard for the children to take.

“Council had worked so hard to get us back into the building, and to test that all of our tents were safe and OK for us to use,” she said.

“We’d only been back in the building a few weeks and this happens...”

Among the stolen items were 38 beige-coloured lightweight Cygnet Trek-Lite tents, a new Wanderer gazebo, four four-person Wanderer dome tents, two six-person Wanderer dome tents, and 10 Marlin PFD Voyager 100 Series lifejackets.

Scouts suspect the thieves gained access to the building via the padlocked roller-door some time between Wednesday night, March 21, and the following Monday night, March 26.

Police are investigating.

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