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Safety gate theft’s a cruel blow to kids
1:20pm Wednesday 30th May 2012 in Local
A POPULAR BMX track is under threat of closure after thieves stole the metal safety entrance gate.
The solid seven feet by four feet gate, which cost £3.500, was at the entrance of the DudleyWood BMX facility to stop motorbikes and cars accessing the former Black Horse pub site and putting the young riders in danger.
But during the night of May 23, the gate was taken, leaving the children’s facility off Dudley Wood Road wide open and community leaders at a loss at how they can afford to replace it. Ward councillor, Jackie Cowell, said: “I’m appalled by this as it is the children and young people who are going to lose out.
“The gate was there for health and safety reasons to stop vehicles getting onto the site. But now the track is potentially at risk of being closed down because of these issues.
“We have no idea where we are going to get the money from to replace the gate as it was lottery funded.
“The children have nowhere else to go in this area, so if this is closed there is nothing else for them.
“It is a really popular track and it is always being used by the youngsters.”
The trackwas opened in 2009 at a cost of £20,000,whichwas funded through the Birmingham Foundation Fairshare Lottery Fund andmatch funded through Dudley Council, following tireless campaigning by councillors and youth club leaders.
The latest theft follows last summer’s vandalism when £600 of damage was caused to the track’s metal fencing.
Martin Smith, chairman of Saltwells Youth Club, said: “If anyone knows where the gate is or can help us to provide a new one, we would welcome them with open arms.”
A West Midlands Police spokesman confirmed a 50 year-old man has been charged with handling stolen goods. He has been bailed and is set to appear at Dudley Magistrates Court on June 12.
Anyone who can help should contact cllr Cowell on 07780 660377.