Dagenham BMX club raided by thieves

A BMX club that jumped from 29th to third in the National Series this year faces closure after being repeatedly ransacked by raiders.

Barking and Dagenham BMX – BAD BMX for short – was left “devastated” after thousands of pounds of bikes and kits were stolen, and their track start gate was trashed at Old Dagenham Park on September 9.

The 100-member club launched in 2005 could soon close, with no CCTV or floodlights to catch vandals and companies reluctant to insure their track built on widely accessible open land.

The club said the council told them that installing CCTV at the track would be too expensive and police found it difficult to stop break-ins without monitoring cameras, though both parties are working together to find a solution.

Club treasurer Caroline Porter, 38, said: “We’re just having to replace everything.

“If it continues the club is going to have to fold.

“You just want to cry. We feel we’re being watched.”

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BAD BMX spent a �50,000 council grant modifying their track this May to hold national competitions but did not have enough left over to install floodlights.

Ranked 28th or 29th in National Series over the last three years, the club moved into third place this year after club bosses Matthew and Sharon Oaten intensified training.

A four-speaker sound system used during regional events, eight bikes donated by British Cycling worth up to �200 each and trophies for club members were stolen on August 19.

Their electric box and water supply was vandalised on August 24 and a compressor used to raise their start gate and traffic light system were taken on September 9.

In March their black and orange kits labelled BAD BMX were stolen from a metal container.

Police said they were conducting “enhanced patrols” near the track. Chief Insp Richard Goodwin said: “Someone in the community knows who is committing these break-ins. Give us the information and we can put a stop to the targeting of this club which is of great value as a diversionary activity to the youngsters.”

A council spokesman said: “Both the council and police are aware of the recent spate of thefts from the BMX track. The council-funded Met Police Safer Parks Team will now work with the council’s partners and the BMX club to come up with a workable action plan to combat the problem.”