Leziate open water swimming club shuts after £3k equipment raid

Matthew Evans with peaceful backdrop of the private lake at Leziate, 
(Wetnosers swimming club closing)
Matthew Evans with peaceful backdrop of the private lake at Leziate, (Wetnosers swimming club closing)

The head of a West Norfolk swimming club says it has been forced to close following a spate of vandalism and break-ins at its home.

In the latest incident, discovered at the weekend, around £3,000 worth of equipment was stolen from the Wetnosers open water swimming club, which met at Leziate.

Officials say the organisation has endured repeated incidents over a period of up to 18 months.

Chairman Matthew Evans said he was “gutted and angry” at the situation, but felt there was little alternative but to close.

He said: “It’s such a joyful place to go, but the joy has been sucked out of it.”

Mr Evans said he had been repeatedly threatened at the site, while previous incidents have included raids on the club’s changing rooms and kiosk, attempts to steal safety equipment.

The club has also had to deal with flood damage it believes was caused by cement being put into its main drainage pipe, plus other damage to buildings, benches and tables.

The most recent incident was discovered on Sunday, though it is believed the raiders could have struck at any time in the past month.

In it, equipment including canoes and wetsuits were stolen from a storage container which the club says was triple locked.

More than 200 people have regularly attended the club over the past four years, including charity fundraisers and competitive swimmers.

Mr Evans said the club’s plight mirrored that of a club in Cambridgeshire, which had been forced to shut following an arson attack.

He said he had tried to seek an alternative venue, but had so far not found a lake owner who was prepared to let members swim there.

He added: “Given the behaviour I have witnessed first hand, I am not surprised.”

An investigation has been launched into the latest raid, which police believe could have happened at any time between February 13 and March 5.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Hunstanton police on 101.