VOLUNTEERS have spoken of their devastation after thieves broke into a village hall causing £5,000 worth of damage.
A group of thieves broke a window and smashed six doors to steal a host of goods from Clayton Village Hall.
The group's haul included a television, DJ equipment, laptop, Xbox computer system and bottles of wine and spirits from the bar during the raid at around midnight on Sunday.
The site, in Reva Syke Road, held a family function that finished at about 9.30pm on Sunday, with the hall then being shut overnight.
The village hall hosts a variety of groups including youth clubs, toddler groups, community classes and is open seven days a week.
The building was opened in 1979 and is owned by the residents of Clayton, run by a group of around 20 volunteers and is self-funded with a small grant coming from Clayton Parish Council.
It is also a Grade II listed building and was opened up as a Liberal Club in 1877 and was used as an officers' mess during the Second World War.
Councillor Carol Thirkill (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green), chairman of the Clayton Village Hall Community Association, said the volunteers themselves would have to pay for the damage caused at the venue.
She said: "It's devastating for the people that help out.
"I just feel for the people who have put so much effort into the village hall.
"It's a strong community in Clayton. We will rally round and pull together and come out of this stronger.
"How can people cause damage to the hall? They have upset quite a lot of residents and volunteers, who run it for the community.
"The damage will have to be paid for out of our funding which is stretched anyway. There is a cost to the community.
"It's mindless. The youth club has never been broken into before. It's criminal damage.
"The hall is used every day by several different groups. It's the hub of the community.
"They have kicked through a window and damaged six doors and taken a few thousand pounds worth of goods. Replacing the doors and window will cost around £2,000.
"It's also the devastation this causes to the youths of the village. The youth club won't be able to operate at its full capacity without the DJ equipment. All of the items taken would have been used."
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "The incident is believed to have happened between midnight on Sunday night and 7am on Monday morning, when it was reported to police.
"Enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with any further information is urged to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."