A break-in at the Nowra Speedway is set to cost the organisation close to $50,000.
Almost every building at the Albatross Road complex was broken into by an unknown number of people between 10pm on Sunday, January 6 and 5am Monday, January 7.
Track manager and race promoter Terry Clarke has been left “gutted, bewildered and heartbroken” over a robbery.
“Everything we need to run a meeting has been stolen,” Mr Clarke said.
“A converted fire safety vehicle, the PA sound system, even the microphones.”
The fire vehicle, a converted Suzuki, one of two used for safety at the track, was found later in the morning ablaze in a creek, just west of the Princes Highway near the Hillcrest Avenue roundabout.
“They broke into the canteen, which was still stocked from our washed out meeting on Saturday night and stole around $2000 worth of goods,” Mr Clarke said.
A large quantity of meat, ice creams and drinks were stolen.
Thieves had targeted the complex two months ago, stealing a $2000 water pump.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Mr Clarke said.
“It’s like they have stolen anything that wasn’t bolted down. It seems to have been pretty organised. It looks like more than one or two people.
“It was disappointing when Saturday night’s meeting had to be cancelled after rain - we had good quality entries and good numbers of spectators.
“To have to cancel hurt us financially and then have this happen on top of everything is just gutting.
“We are all volunteers, just trying to do our bit for the community.”
South Coast Police are investigating the break-in with scientific officers undertaking fingerprinting procedures.
There are also investigations if a break-in at the nearby West Nowra Rural Fire Station where a first aid kit was taken is linked.
The Nowra Speedway has supported a number of local charities including KidzFix to the tune of $45,000, Shoalhaven District Hospital, through to the Wollongong Roller Hawks Basketball team, which the group’s next meeting on January 19 was scheduled to support.
The speedway has operated in its location for 23 years and while it has had minor break-ins in the past, does not have insurance to cover the losses.
The break-in was discovered early Monday morning when a local trotting trainer noticed the gates into the complex they share with the speedway had been rammed.
“We’ve had things like batteries taken and windows broken before,” Mr Clarke said.
“But never anything major like this.
“We normally keep our head above water, we survive season to season but this puts a big dent into things for this year.
“This hurts us but ultimately it hurts the community. If we aren't able to run events we aren’t able to continue to support local charities.”
Shoalhaven KidzFix Rally team member Ian Usher has been running the canteen for four years, with every cent made going to the organisation.
“We’ve raised $45,000 in that time,” he said. “This is just heartbreaking.
“I just do this for the kids.”
Gary Gilbert has provided the fire safety at the complex for 21 years. It was one of his two vehicles that was stolen and later set on fire.
“It’s pretty gutting,” he said.
“We have converted the two Suzukis into mobile fire firefighting safety vehicles. We just spent $3000 having specialised foam fire extinguishers installed on the back of each vehicle.
“We have not made a cent out of this. Any money we have got has always gone back into upgrading our machines.”
Mr Clarke said while the break-in puts the organisation on its knees they “were down but not out”.
“We are determined to keep going,” he said “however it will be hard.
“We have to replace everything we have lost. What’s to say the same thing won’t happen again?
“We just hope the police catch those responsible so no other organisations faces a similar incident.”
The club’s next scheduled meeting is January 19, a fundraiser for the Wollongong Roller Hawks Basketball team, followed by its annual Australia Day meeting which has been run for close to 20 years. Meetings are also scheduled for February 9 and 23.