Gunnedah Lions Club has been shattered after heartless thieves stole more than $3000 worth of food and equipment from the club canteen last week.

“It’s a horrible feeling,” Lions club past president Nev Steele said.

“It means we’re going to be out of pocket.”

But he said the real loss would be borne by the Gunnedah community as much of the funding raised is reinvested back into local causes.

“The profit from our canteen sales goes back into the kitty,” he said.

“It means we’ll have less money for distribution.”

Just last year alone, that kitty delivered $32,000 back into the Gunnedah community and for medical research causes.

“We put a lot of work into this,” Mr Steele said.

Thieves forced entry into the volunteer-run canteen at the Gunnedah Showground sometime last Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

Mr Steele said it appeared the offenders used a grinder to cut reinforced padlocks at the canteen entry door, spray painted at least one of the three security cameras on the premises before cutting cables and removing the security recording device located inside.

The club was preparing stock for the annual Gunnedah Bird Show held last weekend.

Stolen food included about 60 steaks, 8kg of bacon, 12 dozen eggs, three dozen meat pies, eight cartons of soft drink – even a few bags of frozen chips and the jar of coffee was pinched.

Also stolen was a portable gas barbecue and brand new food processor.

Mr Steele said last week the club would be lucky to break even for the bird show. This was the second time in recent years thieves have forced entry into the Gunnedah Lions canteen – the last time prior, offenders gained access through the roof.

After that incident, the canteen was reinforced with additional security measures which still failed to deter the culprits last week.

Mr Steele said although “disappointed” by recent events, he was heartened by the offers of assistance from neighbouring community organisations and individuals following the break-in.

“We’ve had a heap of support, the community really stepped up to help,” he said.

“The police have been marvellous too, they’ve been great.”

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