Blow for teenage referee at tournament in Skegness

Butlins resort in Skegness. ANL-171121-103009001
Butlins resort in Skegness. ANL-171121-103009001

A teenager who funded a trip to referee at a youth football tournament in Skegness says he is devastated after valuable possessions were stolen from his room.

Lucas Meeley, 16, travelled from Walsall near Birmingham to officiate at the ESF Junior Football Tournament at Butlin’s.

One of two tournaments at the resort and supported by Leicester City FC, 400 boys and girls teams and 15,000 people from all over the UK take part in the events, making ESF Skegness the biggest youth football tournaments of their kind in the UK.

But Lucas says he is questioning whether to ever help again after his room was ransacked and posssessions worth £1,500 were stolen.

“I’d been back to the room after my game and left my backpack to go and watch my room mate’s game.

“We got back just after 5pm and I noticed my referee kit , shirt, flags and whistle had been taken out of my bag and all over the floor. The drawers were open and I asked my room mate if he had been back – which obviously he hadn’t. But I didn’t want to believe anyone had broken into the room.

“I then saw my Microsoft Surface Pro laptop and charger which were on the desk had gone and I realised they must have been stolen.”

On closer inspection, Lucas – who works in a primary school giving PE support and help at sports clubs – found £180 cash, two pairs of expensive football boots, backpack, debit cards house keys and his room mate’s house keys and car keys were missing.

“It was a terrible shock. When you try to do something nice you don’t expect something like this to happen to you.

“Most of things stolen were gifts from my family and not covered by the home insurance. I don’t have the cash to replace them.

“There are some more tournaments coming up but I’m thinking I might not do any more after this.”

A spokesman for the ESF Junior Football Tournament at Butlin’s said: “We were very sorry to hear what happened to Lucas at our tournament in Butlins in Skegness.

“Lucas was one of 250 referees who volunteered at the event, for which we are very grateful.

“When we were notified some of his possessions were missing we advised him to contact Butlins safety team and the police.

“Overall the event, which was attended by 6,000 young people, received some fantastic feedback.

“We hold two very successful football events for young people each year, with games played on every green space we can find in the area and we are very grateful for the support of the community.”

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call police on 101, quoting incident 482 of May 6 2018