Thieves managed to gain access to the Windsor Avenue premises at around 2am on Wednesday, stealing a number of new replica Northern Ireland away shirts and shorts worth about £3,600.

Security at the Irish Football Association's headquarters in south Belfast is set to be stepped up after it was burgled for the second time this month.

Thieves managed to gain access to the Windsor Avenue premises at around 2am on Wednesday, stealing a number of new replica Northern Ireland away shirts and shorts worth about £3,600. The shirts, which commemorate the 25th anniversary of Northern Ireland's sensational victory over Spain in the 1982 World Cup, were launched in early July and have yet to be worn by the international team.

It follows a break-in earlier in the week, during the early hours of Tuesday, when thieves broke into IFA HQ and stole several boxes of leisure wear.

The latest incident has prompted the organisation to look at costly security measures in a bid to prevent another break-in; however, the IFA has warned the money needed to implement the measures could come out of vital programmes.

"This is the second time within a week that our headquarters have been broken into and the theft of merchandise will have a serious affect on the much-needed revenue which is generated through sales of our products," the IFA's head of marketing and communications, Geoff Wilson said.

"A percentage of this money is what keeps our grassroots programmes going and our youth and international teams running, because when supporters buy directly from us, a percentage of the money is reinvested into the various areas.

"I would appeal to anyone who is offered Northern Ireland merchandise in suspicious circumstances to contact police or the IFA."

A police spokesperson confirmed the latest break-in and appealed for anyone who may have been in the Windsor Avenue area at the time and noticed anything suspicious, or anyone who may have been offered this latest football kit in dubious circumstances, to contact detectives at Musgrave Street on 0845 600 8000, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 

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