Dagenham and Redbridge fans devastated after arson attack destroys “priceless programmes”

07:01 13 November 2012

'Irreplaceable': Daggers boss Steve Thompson stands next to the supporters' club office which contained thousands of programmes. Picture: Steve Poston

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Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club fans have been left devastated after a supporters’ club containing “priceless” programmes from past decades was destroyed in an arson attack.

Bosses are assessing the damage after thousands of FA cup final and club programmes dating back to the 1950s were reduced to ash at the site in Victoria Road, Dagenham on Sunday.

Supporters’ club members John Chapman and Russell Elmes helped to gather the collection believed to have included programmes from all 92 football league clubs.

A VIP box was also broken into and pipes were ripped off toilet walls hours after the Daggers thrashed Rotherham 5 - 0 on Saturday.

The club’s managing director Steve Thompson, 52, said: “The collection of programmes destroyed had been the result of 10 years hard work by two of our most dedicated supporters.

“It was recognised as one of the best in the country and an individual or individuals looking for something valuable have in fact destroyed a collection of programmes that was priceless.

“My heart goes out to the two supporters involved. Some of the programmes are irreplaceable.”

Mr Chapman, 65, said: “It’s a great tragedy. I feel very upset for the supporters and this bit of football history for the club.”

One fan wrote on a forum: “Gutted all the paper history of the club has gone.” Another branded the arson attack “despicable”.

Around 15 firefighters tackled the blaze at 5.30am. The fire was brought under control half an hour later.

CCTV has been looked at but no arrests have yet been made.

Ch Insp Richard Goodwin said: “Dagenham and Redbridge FC is a valued family focused asset for the borough and I hope that anyone who has information concerning this incident will recognise this and contact police without delay.”

The League 2 club is appealing to others clubs to rebuild the collection.

A spokesman said: “We will be appealing for help to restock the shop.”

Anyone with information should contact the CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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