A FOOTBALL club licensee has told of his shock after burglars struck for the second time in one month.

The Radcliffe FC building, known locally as The Footballers, was first targeted on Thursday, June 7, when armed men forced their way into the building and broke into the club safe, stealing thousands of pounds.

Around three or four men stole large quantities of computer equipment and used sledge hammers to smash the fruit machines.

Then, in a second blow for the club, owners discovered that thieves had forced their way through the front door, again destroying fruit machines and also taking several cases of wine, Prosecco and other alcohol.

The building licensee said he is aggrieved at what has happened to the club, which is known by many as a hub of the community.

He appealed for anyone with information to contact police on 101.

Licensee and DJ Paul Crawley, aged 55, said: "When I discovered the second time, my heart was in my mouth. They had tried to get in through the roof of the cellar. They had removed bricks. Then they tried to go in through the cellar door which we had had reinforced after the first burglary.

"So they rammed their way through the front door."

Mr Crawley called 999 and said the police arrived in around seven or eight minutes.

Forensics have also been to take evidence as part of the investigation.

In the first burglary, three or four people made their way in and out of the building in stages, after removing padlocks from the external gates to gain access.

The men broke into the building at around 12.15pm then fled when the alarm was triggered.

They then returned and spent around two hours working their way through the premises and breaking into a secure safe.

Mr Crawley said: "I could not believe it.

"I arrived to find the cellar door open. I could smell burnt metal. My mind was drawn to where the safe is. They had used machinery to break through a quarter inch of steel and four inches of concrete to steal several thousand pounds.

"They smashed the fruit machines with sledge hammers and took money out of the tills.

"Then last Friday morning we were broken into again. There was no money in the premises but they stole lots of alcohol.

"They also smashed through a studded wall and got into the football chairman's office. They were swaggering around inside the room. They sat down and had a celebratory drink of Desperado each and left the bottles behind.

"Hopefully we will find out who they are. Someone will know these people."

The club suite, known locally as The Footballers, has stepped up its security following the burglaries.

Mr Crawley said: "We are all things to all people. We are a part of this community. We host charity events, invite the elderly in, host parties, hold club events.

"We care about this community.

"We are aggrieved with what has happened."

Anyone with information should call police on 101.