MEMBERS of a Hampshire sports club have condemned "lowlife thieves" who have damaged their long-awaited new premises just weeks after the opening ceremony.

Burglars smashed their way into the headquarters of Lymington Rowing Club and helped themselves to hundreds of pounds raised by young volunteers as well as stealing alcohol from the bar.

In a separate incident vandals targeted New Milton Rugby Club and destroyed a pair of goalposts less than 24 hours after they were installed.

It comes just two months after hooligans damaged another set of goalposts and ripped tiles off the pavilion roof.

The break-in at Lymington Rowing Club occurred over the weekend.

Writing on social media the club described the thieves as "lowlife", adding: "Not only have they damaged a new clubhouse, which took a lot of people ten years of hard graft to make happen, they also smashed their way into the store and stole £400 raised by our junior volunteers for new equipment.

"On the way out they helped themselves to our bar stock. Goes with out saying we will have to remove anything of value every night."

Several people have taken to social media to voice their anger and dismay at the break-in and the damage caused to the new building.

One man posted: "So sorry to hear about this. We all know how much hard work members past and present have put into the club to get it where it is today."

It comes just weeks after the new building was opened by world champion rower and double Olympic gold medallist Heather Stanning.

She said: "The list of people who have contributed to making the new club (house) happen is very impressive and shows it's not just about the rowers but about the massive team behind it as well."

New Forest Post:

The new complex was built for the club by Redrow as part of the neighbouring Lymington Shores housing development.

Funded with the help of grants from local authorities the clubhouse contains kitchen facilities, a small bar, state-of-the-art rowing machines and storage space for boats and equipment.

Speaking at the opening ceremony club chairman Mark Viner said he had been a member for more than 40 years.

He added: "We have had various successes on and off the water but the one constant factor has been the search for new premises. This day has finally arrived."

Anyone with information about the break-in can contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44190328881.