TWO burglaries in four days at an Air Cadet headquarters in Leigh has left youngsters and staff feeling ‘devastated’.

The 316 (Leigh) Squadron Air Training Corps had a minibus, money, several laptops and other electrical devices stolen from its base in Windermere Grove between 10pm on Thursday and 3pm on Saturday.

The theft caused a trip to a Greater Manchester Wing inter-squadron swimming competition to be cancelled on Saturday.

Six of the cadets were due to compete in the event in Stockport.

Flight lieutenant Wendy McCormack, the commanding officer, says the base was also burgled on Tuesday, with money being taken from the tills.

She said: “I turned up on Saturday afternoon to prepare for a trip for six cadets, who were due to take part in the swimming competition.

"For the second time that week the squadron building had been broken into.

"This time however we came off worse than before with more items of value being stolen.

"Among other things this included several laptops and the squadron minibus. Both of these are of great importance to the cadets as the laptops enable them to do their Air Cadet exams and other projects and the minibus enables us to get them to events and go on trips.

“As the minibus was gone and there was such a mess to clean up, other members of the group and I had to tell the cadets we could not take them to the event.

"They were devastated. We all were.

"Due to the disregard of a few, several hard working young people will be disadvantaged now when all they wanted to do was improve themselves and help others."

The stolen minibus was found near Siddow Common in Leigh on Sunday morning damaged and needing repairs.

Commanding officer McCormack added: “As the building is in such a mess, we do not know how much equipment has been taken yet.

“We are very grateful to members of the pubic for helping us to find the minibus.”

There are 46 cadets based at the unit at Windermere Grove.

Anyone with information about the burglaries should call Greater Manchester Police on 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.