Preventing theft: most stolen items from sports and social clubs

Theft from sports and social clubs is one of the top reasons for insurance claims each year. Not only is theft incredibly costly for any club, it is also distressing and has long-lasting consequences, particularly if your club has to shut for a period of time following the break-in.

We take a look at the most stolen items from sports and social clubs and how you can prevent theft at your club.


This is an obvious one. Money is particularly attractive to any criminal, and easy to acquire during a break-in as it won’t require heavy lifting or a large getaway vehicle (compared to groundskeeping equipment or machinery).

Criminals are likely to steal money from your club’s tills or a safe. Make sure you have processes and protocols in place to protect your club’s money, and don’t keep large amounts of cash in your tills overnight (it is recommended to keep them left empty and open). Instead, place your cash takings in a safe. The combination should be changed regularly and keys kept off site.

Your insurance policy will stipulate a maximum amount of cash you’re able to store overnight in your safe. Make sure you don’t exceed this amount, or you won’t be covered. If you’re taking money to the bank, you must be vigilant and only allow trained, trusted members of staff to undertake this activity. Vary the times and days when you bank to prevent thieves getting to know your routine, as they may be planning to steal from staff members as they take cash off-site. Your insurance policy may stipulate terms for banking money, so check your Policy Wording or consult your broker for advice.

You should make sure potential thieves know that there is minimal cash kept on-site, using visible signs to make the point loud and clear (aka “no money is left on our premises”).

Gaming machines

Many thieves score the jackpot with gaming machines. Machine keys or lock break-ins allow criminals to gain access to the cash box, which can contain a large sum of money.

The machines must be located in a place that can be supervised by staff at all times, or monitored by CCTV. Those who target gaming machines often have a very sophisticated way of breaking into the machines, and are likely to have past experience of doing so. Therefore it’s important to be vigilant and train staff to recognise signs of suspicious behaviour.

Game guards or security cabinets are excellent theft prevention. The additional effort required to gain access will deter thieves.

Your insurance policy will have a stipulated limit for cash values in a machine, so check your Policy Wording and make sure you comply with this.


If you sell alcohol, chances are you’ll have a substantial store of expensive liquor on-site. This can be particularly attractive to petty thieves rather than organised criminals.

Keep limited bottles of alcohol on display so you aren’t advertising the volume of the alcohol available at your premises.

Personal property

You may not keep changing rooms or lockers particularly secure, especially if the team is playing on a nearby pitch. Both opportunist thieves and those with a plan will take their chance to break into an unsecured changing room. They’ll be able to steal valuable personal possessions such as wallets and mobile phones. This will not just have an impact on your club, but it’s players and members who will personally be victims of theft due to inadequate security measures. 

All outbuildings, changing rooms and lockers should be adequately secured in order to prevent theft. Lockers should be securely fastened to the wall, and should be of a high quality to avoid break-ins (i.e. durable with a quality lock).

Equipment and machinery

We’ve written previously about outbuilding theft and how to prevent this. Outbuildings are a target because they are seemingly less secure than the main premises, often not monitored and with less visibility. Yet, for sports and social clubs, outbuildings can store a range of expensive equipment and machinery.

Follow the minimum security provisions set out in your insurance policy. For example, you may need to have a professional security system or specific locks.

The real cost of club theft

The physical loss of an item, whether that’s money or equipment, can massively impact a club. A break in trading following a major theft could be financially crippling, unless you have adequate Business Interruption insurance cover. Plus, you may need to pay a hefty excess on any theft claim which can financially impact your club. Theft can also be emotionally distressing, and cause a large amount of disruption for your club.

It is therefore much wiser to try and prevent theft, than be complacent and end up having to deal with the fallout afterwards.

How to prevent theft from happening at your club

There are many ways to mitigate theft and make your club more secure. Turn to the professionals, who will be able to recommend the best ways to secure your club and advise on the most effective security systems.

Basic details such as locking doors and windows are just common sense, but there may be stipulations in your insurance policy you need to be aware of (such as a specific type of lock or number of locks needed). For further advice, visit our blog on protecting your business from burglary.

It is also advised to security mark your property, and advertise that machinery and equipment is marked. This will deter thieves as they won’t want to steal property that can be easily identified by the police and traced back to its original owner.

Make sure you’re protected against theft

Club Insure will be able to advise on the right insurance policy for your club. Our expert team are specialists in the sports and social club sector, so they know exactly what type of cover you need.

Get in touch with our award-winning team today.