23/05/2012 12:52 BST | Updated 23/05/2012 12:52 BST

Police Plead For Thieves To Return Stolen Children Football Kits To Kodak FC

Police have called on a gang of thieves to search their consciences after football kits for more than 150 children were stolen from their manager's garden shed.

Paul Whitehead, who has served as volunteer team manager of the youth team for 14 years, said his players would be "absolutely gutted" by the news.

Around 90 Kodak FC shirts - four red sets and two yellow sets - were taken from his shed in Talbot Road, Wealdstone, north-west London, between Friday and Monday.

Mr Whitehead said: "When we found out we felt absolutely sick. I haven't had the heart to tell any of the children yet.

"I am dreading having to break the bad news to them at Thursday's training session. I know they will be absolutely gutted.

"I think it is absolutely shameful that someone could be so heartless as to steal children's football kits."

His wife Sue, who is the team's fixture secretary and welfare officer, said: "What we're trying to do is keep children off the streets by providing them an opportunity to play football in an organised environment three nights a week.

"Kodak FC runs youth teams from under 7s to under 17s and they will all be disadvantaged by the theft - that's over 150 children."

Around 10 bottles of wine and champagne were also stolen, which the couple were saving for their silver wedding anniversary.

Pc Derek Livingstone, from Marlborough and Wealdstone Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: "We believe that this was an opportunistic crime and are hoping that this publicity might persuade the thieves to examine their consciences and return the kits.

"Sheds and garages are often the first places that burglars target. In recent weeks we have seen several sheds, garages and outhouses broken into, with power tools, alcohol and foodstuffs targeted.

"Please ensure you secure shed doors and fit locks to garages. Remember to close all side gates and secure all garden tools and ladders, as burglars often use these to break into homes."