BAND members have been left devastated after their new septic tank was stolen just days before it was due to be installed.

Members of Hyde Band were delighted to start building a new home on a piece of land gifted to them 18 years ago after planning permission was granted on September 15, 2020.

The team of 25 had fundraised £35,000 toward building a hall for the band to practice and perform in but faced a major setback.

On Friday, June 2, their £848 septic tank was allegedly stolen from the building site in Newtown Lane, Gorley.

Between 11am and 3pm someone cut the fence and broke into the plot of land.

This has brought the building project to a 'grinding halt' and charity secretary Niki Grimmett feels "absolutely gutted".

The 54-year-old, from Ringwood, said: "It's a huge setback. So many people have worked so hard to raise this money and someone just comes along and takes what they want."

Salisbury Journal: Trustee Niki Grimmett.Trustee Niki Grimmett. (Image: Niki Grimmett.)

Alister Cutts, of Earlcote Construction, offered to install the tank and donate a day with a digger to the project but this has now been placed on hold until a replacement can be sourced.

For the past 12 years, the band has been effectively "homeless", hopping from venue to venue to practice.

Hyde Band, formed 125 years ago, is currently using a converted shed at Hale Park House but Niki said "none of it is ideal" because the shed is small and there is nowhere to store instruments.

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Money raised from concerts, carols and donations throughout those 12 years had gone toward the project.

Chairman John Cook and his brother Greg have put their building skills to use in an attempt to keep costs down and save money wherever possible.

If the band were to get the £100k hall up and running, the training band could be restarted and offer tuition to aspiring members.

While the band is covered by insurance, Hampshire Police has an ongoing investigation and Niki said it could be a "very long time" before they are compensated for the loss.

"This has to be a targeted theft as the plot is very remote and no-one would really have any cause to enter the lane apart from those who own land, live or work there," she added.

CCTV footage was obtained from a neighbour but police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

To do so, submit information to the Hampshire Police website quoting the reference 44230219527, or call 101.

The band is raising money to replace the septic tank through Go Fund Me.