“METHODICAL” thieves have stolen a custom-built wooden gate from a charityrun community centre.

The 8ft x 4ft gate was taken from the Sycamore Halls Community Centre, in Sycamore Way, Winklebury, between Friday, 24 November and Saturday, 25 November.

Since the closure of Fort Hill Community School, the loss of a supermarket in the area and having no medical centre, the Sycamore Halls Community Association (SHCA) has tried to boost the morale of the area.

Trustees at the charitable organisation said the improvements to the garden at the centre, which included the installation of the gates, was a symbol of new beginnings for Winklebury.

The SHCA installed the gates, at a cost of £580, in the summer so children could play safely outside during birthday parties, play groups and other events.

However, after the theft, chair of the SHCA Shirley Keer said this was a “malicious” incident by someone who knew what they were doing.

She told The Gazette: “The gates were made specifically for us, so we believe this was stolen to order as the size of the gate are so specific.

“They also knew what they were doing because there was no damage; all the hinges and were unscrewed and the latches taken.

“This is another reason why it has been targeted as they took everything with them, it wasn’t just vandalism.”

What Shirley said was the worst part of it was that whoever had taken the gates had stolen from a charity.

She added: “It takes a certain person to steal from a charity. It’s like these people who mug elderly people, or steal from Poppy Appeals. It is just not right.

“Even though the police are involved we just want our gates back, so if they are returned to us we won’t even press charges.”

If anyone has any information to the whereabouts of the gates contact either shcawinklebury@gmail.com or the police on 101 quoting the crime reference 44170460798.