ACCRINGTON Stanley have contacted police after thieves stole boots from several players – a day before a 4-0 defeat that saw them slip to the bottom of the Football League.

Stanley are spending several thousand pounds on increased security measures at the Store First Stadium after break-ins on successive nights.

Many of Stanley’s first team were left furious on Monday morning after arriving for training to find their boots – some of them specially adapted for matches – had been stolen from the kit room and dressing room.

Some bought new boots in time for Tuesday’s match at Shrewsbury Town, while others had to wear boots usually reserved for training. But Stanley slipped to a heavy loss to drop to bottom spot in League Two.

The club suffered another break-in on Monday night, when food and drink outlets were among the areas targeted.

Police are now investigating.

Stanley manager James Beattie admitted that the theft of the players’ boots ‘had not helped’ his team’s preparations for Tuesday’s game at Shrewsbury.

He said: “We were all shocked to find out this news. A number of my players have had their boots and other equipment taken, which have both monetary and sentimental value to them.

“As if it isn’t hard enough to try to keep this club in the Football League against the odds and with a small budget, this is another blow that could have a detrimental effect on both our season and the finances.

“We’re appealing to anyone who may have any information to contact the club or the police.”

The club believe a pair of intruders entered the ground on Sunday evening before returning in greater numbers on Monday night with tools to attempt to break into more areas. Stanley are ramping up security measures, with plans to increase the number of CCTV cameras at the stadium.

“We cannot afford this cost but we also cannot afford to allow unlawful damage to go without answer,” the club said in a statement.