A THIEF stole a “vital” piece of machinery from a Glasgow charity and was later caught riding it down a main road on CCTV.

The robber broke into Pollok United Soccer Academy’s outdoor container at Nethercraigs in the city’s Southside and stole the ride-on grass cutter.

Andy Elliott, club manager, said: “We’re starting to get back up and running after the holidays but have been hit with this setback we could be doing without.

“We’ve been trying to plan things but it’s hard without a vital piece of machinery. We are insured but it’s the hassle of sorting this and getting a replacement.

Glasgow Times:

“The grass is not growing much at the moment so it’s not absolutely critical we have got it just now, but we’re not sure how long it will take us to get a replacement.

“It’s just disappointing someone would steal from a charity. We’re now having to review all the security and improve the cameras around the facilities. Should we really have to go to these extremes?"

The charity which runs several football teams, use sport and activities to engage the local community and improve health and wellbeing.

Several fitness classes also take place at the Corkerhill Hub.

The recent robbery took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning, between 3-4am.

Glasgow Times:

Andy said: “The keys weren’t in the machine at the time, so the thief hardwired it.

“The machine only travels up to speeds of 6mph so it’s very odd to be driving around the streets on it. It would have been crawling along.

“Another lawnmower had been taken out of the container and put behind bags of sand, maybe with a view of coming back and taking it, but I had noticed this.

“We have been piecing things together a bit and have managed to secure an image of a guy on it.

“He drives it down to the roundabout at Braidcraft Road so we managed to get CCTV images from a shop nearby.

“His face is blurry but what he’s wearing is quite distinctive so someone may recognise him.

Glasgow Times:

“The police are investigating and are going to keep checking other CCTV points.”

Andy, who revealed the charity secured funding to purchase the machine, said it’s vital for the upkeep and maintenance of the open spaces and football pitches.

If you know anything regarding the whereabouts of the red Countax lawnmower, please contact police on 101.

A force spokesperson: said “Around 10.25am on Tuesday, January 11, a report was made to police regarding the theft overnight of a high-value ride-on lawnmower from a sports centre in Corkerhill Road, Pollok. Enquiries into the theft are continuing.”