Just hours before residents began the clean-up of the flood-damaged cricket club, thieves were picking over the bones of the devastated bar - stealing bottles of alcohol.

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Two sides of community ‘spirit’ were starkly illustrated last Friday; most people were lending a helping hand to ensure the pavilion re-opens within three weeks, but a minority were helping themselves.

The pavilion had been submerged in 15 feet of water, resulting in massive damage to the bar and toilets, but by last Friday the water had receded enough for work to begin.

For three days, a constant stream of people gave their time, but on Friday morning, before work had started, thieves had struck.

Club secretary Kevin Curran said: “We expect our loss to be nearer £20,000, mainly the cost of replacing all the written off kitchen and the bar.

“But we have also lost stock in the bar, both from the flood and from some petty pilfering, possibly early Friday morning before the clean-up began.

“Another significant cost will be the lost revenue during the closure.”

He said that they had had a ‘tremendous response’ from members and non-members. “The committee is really grateful,” he said.

“Many goodwill messages have been received and it was particularly heartening to receive the kind thoughts of our president, Lord Clinton, together with a personal donation.”

● Anyone wanting to make donations to the club should send them to club treasurer Simon Leat, 18 Honey Park Road, Budleigh Salterton, EX9 6EG.

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