An angling coach has hit out at thieves who stole a life ring from beside Kingfisher Lake in Broadfield Park.
Graham Cridland, of West Sussex Angling Academy, told the Crawley Observer the piece of lifesaving equipment must have been stolen in the early hours of Monday July 16 - they noticed it was missing at 10.40am that day.
He said this is the second time they have had to report a life ring theft - two had their casings damaged around Christmas last year. One had been thrown in the lake, the other was never traced.
A few weeks later, one set of damaged housing was stolen, while the other was set on fire.
“Initially, we thought it would be just criminal damage,” he said. “It then turns out to be theft endangering life. They are stupid idiots.”
The housing and life ring were installed by student helpers, and paid for thanks to a grant from Sussex Police.
“We’re a charity,” said Graham, “we don’t charge anywhere near what other fisheries charge to fish for a day.
“It’s all voluntary, all the money that we make goes into maintaining the lake, and providing life saving equipment.”
The academy is an award-winning organisation which teaches angling skills to help disadvantaged young people and adults to remain in education, gain employment, or just avoid social exclusion.
Graham said they have students who have learning or behavioural problems, or former offenders who they can help into full time employment.
“It does make a huge difference to people’s lives - for the better, thankfully,” he said.
“We’ve had a similar effect with a school from London, where youngsters were involved with knife gangs and gun gangs, and we we’ve turned them away from it.”
For more information about the academy, visit: www.wsangling.com/newsite/