MEMBERS of a gymnastics club for children in Bulwark, Chepstow, are in disbelief after their gym was targeted by fuel thieves.

The thieves broke into Kestrel Gymnastics Club, on Bulwark Industrial Estate, and drained red diesel worth £400 used to fuel the gym's heating system.

Shirley Lazere-Bennett, the club's head coach, said: "What is the matter with people? This [club] is for children in the community."

The club, run on a modest budget, caters for 200 children, aged from two years and up, each week.

It is now appealing for donations to help replenish the diesel stock. Until then, its young members must train in the cold for their upcoming competitions.

Ms Lazere-Bennett said the recent milder weather meant the heating hadn't been turned on over the past few weeks, meaning the theft could have occurred at any point during that time.

But as this week's cold snap arrived, the children who turned up for training on Tuesday asked if the gym's heating could be switched back on.

To the shock of everyone at the gym, they found the fuel tank had been broken into and "completely drained", Ms Lazere-Bennett said.

She added: "The parents couldn't believe it. I'm so angry – we try to get the community together and to get young people off the streets.

"This isn't a good example from adults to children. I never thought anyone could do this."

The theft was reported to Gwent Police, who have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Monmouth MP David Davies, who visited the club recently after hearing it was struggling to keep up with increasing business rates, said: "The heartless people who did this have ruined the enjoyment of so many local children.

"This is a club, run on a shoestring budget, for local people by local people.

"Somebody must know who's done this, and I hope they will turn the culprits in to local police."

In a statement, a Gwent Police spokeswoman said: "If anyone has any information connected to this, please contact 101 quoting log number 427 of 3/4/2019.

"Alternatively, you can send a direct message to our Gwent Police Facebook or Twitter social media accounts, or you can report information anonymously via Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.