BUSINESSES at Wellebourne Airfield are counting the cost to their future after burglars stole donations from a fighting fund.
Owners raced to the airfield after alarms were triggered in the early hours of Monday (September 1) where they found the tower, office, maintenance hanger, together with businesses Take Flight Aviation and South Warwickshire Flying School, had been ransacked.
The businesses – which include flight schools, a museum and a cafe – have submitted an appeal against a ruling to permanently end their tenancies following a legal dispute with site owner Littler Investments which wants to sell the land for development.
So far legals costs have racked up some £200,000. The businesses are battling on and a crowdfunder to support appeal costs has so far raised nearly £30,000 of the £100,000 target.
But more than £2,000 in donations was stolen during the burglary, which happened around 1am.
An Aston Martin DB9 was also taken after its owner left it at the airfield while he went on holiday – although it was later recovered in woodland off Loxley Road.
Hana Smiddy, sales director at flying school Take Flight Aviation, said: “An attack like this, in the midst of fighting for survival, is devastating to the businesses who are frantically fund-raising to aid the court appeal to stop the closure of the airfield.
“With how vulnerable business is at the minute, and then for this to happen on top, is very disheartening.
“I am not sure what the burglars were looking for. It’s really strange as we have safes and a money tin and none of that was touched. None of the keys were taken either or expensive items such as cameras despite them being in plain sight.
“It could have been much worse but it has really shocked us.”
Business owners believe the three thieves broke in through a back door, and they have since released CCTV images in a bid to track them down.
Despite Stratford District Council making a compulsory purchase order for the airfield, the businesses still face eviction if the tenancies appeal falls through – although council chiefs have requested temporary leases for the tenants.
Anyone with information about the burglary should call police on 101.
Visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savewellesbourneairfield to donate the the airfield appeal campaign.
* Music evening ‘Frankie Says Save Wellesbourne Airfield’ aims to raise further funds for the appeal.
The 80s themed night is being held at the Charelcote Pheasant Hotel on Friday October 12 and includes a Frankie Says Save Wellesbourne Airfield t-shirt, a quiz, barbecue, and a raffle.
Visit eventbrite.co.uk and search Wellesbourne Airfield to book tickets priced £22.