A GROUP of Wearside sea cadets targeted by vandals are looking for £10,000 to get back on the water.
Hebburn and Sunderland Sea Cadets don’t have any seaworthy rowing boats after the three they owned were so badly vandalised, they were left condemned.
The boats are condemned now so the irony is, the sea cadets can’t go out on the Tyne.George Bone, Sea Cadets chairman of the unit management committee
The centre has been targeted a number of times over the years.
Police were called to the premises on February 24 after someone tried to break in, and again on Saturday, when a man was spotted acting suspiciously outside.
George Bone, chairman of the unit management committee, and a former sea cadet, said: “Someone tried to get into the building a couple of weeks ago and damaged the shutters, and the three sailing boats kept outside, that were provided by the Royal Navy, have been kicked and had boards pulled off them.
“We don’t know if it all happened at the same time, but the boats are condemned now.”
The club is based in Prince Consort Road, Hebburn. It was once the home of just the Hebburn cadets, but after a fire destroyed the Sunderland base about five years ago, the groups joined forces. Mr Bone, who joined the sea cadets in 1967 and left to join the Royal Navy in 1975, added: “Over the last few years, the Navy has stopped supplying boats for sea cadets and we have to buy them ourselves now.
“The Trinity 500 boats, designed by the Navy and the sea cadets, cost £2,950 each and we’re hoping to raise enough money to buy two.
“We want to use the rest of the £10,000 to turn our old rifle range into a boat stowage area and classroom for the cadets, to learn about charts, buoyage and other aspects of boating. “The boats we have at the minute take 12 cadets to lift, but these new ones require only four, and therefore might be quite easy to steal, so there’s no way we want to keep them outside.
“We’ve started doing a bit of work, but it needs heating and lighting and other improvements.”
Once the facility is up and running, bosses at the sea cadets hope to open their doors to other youth groups and organisations.
Mr Bone, a former executive officer on the HMS Ark Royal and master at arms on HMS Northumberland, said the vandals and thieves that had targeted the sea cadets were “despicable”.
He said: “I think it’s despicable. These attacks have a knock-on effect on the kids and big implications on what they can do.
“Hopefully we’ll raise enough money to get them back out on the water.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 806 240215, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
To make a donation to help the cadets get back on the water, go to www.gofundme.com/ou6vi8