1. ITV Report

'We had no phones, no money and most of the transport had gone, and even the baby's pram'

A Birmingham football team was left stranded after thieves struck while they played, taking cars, phones, wallets, the spare kit and even a baby’s pram.

Credit: BPM Media

Bearwood Athletic, who play in Division One of the Birmingham AFA, were targeted during an away match against Parkfield last Saturday.

The gang waited until kick-off at Hollyfield Sports and Conference Centre in Woodacre Road, Erdington, and then pounced during the match.

Their haul included a BMW 3 Series, a C-Class Mercedes and a Ford Transit van full of work tools.

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Other valuables included Bearwood’s brand new red and black away kit, more than £500 in cash and eight mobile phones.

One of the stolen cars contained the pram and baby seat one of the players had just bought for his new arrival.

In more than 30 years of playing football I have seen or heard of anything like this before.

We won the league last year and we won the game against Parkfield 3-0.

We were buzzing before we got back inside the changing room. I have never seen anything like it – there were clothes everywhere.

There were other matches going on, and the changing room had been locked, but they broke into ours and completely wiped us out.

– Team manager Ada Patterson
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Ada said the squad, which plays its home matches in Smethwick, is most concerned about the theft of the baby equipment and the new kit.

It’s obviously been very upsetting for all of the lads. It’s bad enough that so much stuff has been taken. But one of the lads has just had a new baby and they took the pram and baby seat that was in his car.

It’s the pram that we really need to get back, and the kit. We have been told that we can’t claim against their insurance or our own club insurance.

The lads who had their cars nicked have also been told they can’t claim against their company policies for the contents of the cars either. It’s a massive blow to us all.

– Team manager Ada Patterson
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Another team playing a match at the conference centre came to the aid of beleagured Bearwood. He added: "We had no phones, no money and most of the transport had gone, so it was a really nice gesture and it made a real difference to everyone.”

Ada said many of the players were still waiting to speak to police, who did not turn up on the day.

Detectives are now hunting the gang, who are thought to have struck between 2pm and 3.30pm on November 19.

A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said the force was still trying to trace all of the victims, adding that officers had arrived at the scene after 5pm, but the team had already left.

We have spoken to victims whose cars were stolen.

In addition, officers have been reviewing CCTV footage and I would urge anybody who was a victim, and has not spoken to us yet, to make contact.

We will be keeping in touch with the victims and will update them on how the investigation is progressing.

– West Midlands Police spokeswoman