THIEVES struck at a bowling club and stole large quantities of beer.

Astley Bridge Bowling Green was raided twice in the space of ten days over Christmas and around £1,000 worth of drink was taken during one of the burglaries.

A door and bar shutters were also broken during the other but club members have rallied round and helped to repair the damage.

The club, in Ivy Bank Road, Astley Bridge, was first hit at around midnight on December 18.

Beer was being stored in a cage outside the clubhouse and the thieves managed to break off the lock and take the beer from inside before putting it in a van and driving away.

John Marsh, director of the green, said the raiders were only at the club for around 10 minutes before they drove off.

Three men were caught on CCTV lifting the barrels into a big van.

The second break-in happened the following week, late on Boxing Day.

Staff had locked up at around 10.30pm and a man broke in at around 11.30pm.

He broke the lock on the back door before smashing the window on the next door into the main area of the building.

In the cellar is a small safe used to keep cash in and this was taken bur fortunately it was empty at the time.

The shutter on the bar and a gambling bandit machine were also damaged during the break-in.

The burglar who carried out the second break-in was caught on CCTV.

Mr Marsh said: “He made a mess of the bar. We have got the guy standing there facing the camera.

“It is very frustrating, were trying to get the club up and coming. We opened in 1985 and we are trying to get it updated but we have to pay for it when things like this happen.”

Bowling is a summer sport and the bar is one of the main ways the club makes money during the winter.

Mr Marsh estimated around £500 worth of damage was caused during the second break-in but members of the club worked as joiners and as shutter fitters to help repair the damage and save the club costs.

Mr Marsh believes different people carried out the separate raids and has reported the incidents to the police and is currently trying to send them the CCTV. Anyone with information can contact police on 101.