Terry Franklin inspects the damage at the pool site yesterday.
Terry Franklin inspects the damage at the pool site yesterday. Bruce Thomas

Thieves steal memorial pool tools

THE refurbishment of Coffs Harbour’s war memorial pool had been going swimmingly until yesterday morning.

That’s when workmen discovered their building site had been raided overnight and thieves had run off with tools and equipment worth about $18,000.

Security at the Coff Street complex will now be ramped up in the wake of the daring heist.

Mark McLaughlin is a director of Swimplex Aquatics – the firm contracted by the city council to undertake the re-vamp – and he and his crew were left devastated by the robbery.

“We’ve all been gutted by what has happened. Personal gear as well as company gear has been stolen,” Mr McLaughlin said.

“We’ve only been on-site for three weeks and we’re here for six months in total. The feeling is ‘what’s going to happen for the remainder of our time here’?”

Mr McLaughlin said the intruders broke into the site some time between 4pm on Tuesday and 6.20am yesterday and stripped open a site shed where they found boltcutters.

They used them to prise open a site container and helped themselves to power drills, jackhammers, a generator, laser levels and concrete-cutting equipment. They also grabbed expensive tools from the site office and smashed a window on a dump truck in their search for more.

It’s believed they used a green wheelie bin to haul off the loot.

The contractors remain determined to plough ahead with their transformation of the complex despite this temporary setback.

The $5 million project will convert the facility into an all-weather, heated aquatic centre and is due for completion by the end of October.

The redevelopment will result in a heated, Olympic-sized pool which will be open year round.

It will also allow the city to host teams preparing for national and international events.

If you saw suspicious activity around the Olympic pool this week, call Coffs Harbour police on 6652 0299 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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