A GYMNASTICS team is pleading for help after thousands of pounds worth of equipment was stolen while they competed in a major competition.

Leotards and equipment, including balls, ropes and ribbons, were stolen as well as training equipment including a pommel horse from the iStar GB gymnastics team as they took part in a tournament in Barcelona.

The team, based at the Basildon Gymnastics Academy, are now pleading for donations to help replace the equipment ahead of upcoming competitions.

Angela Velicko, 52, runs the gymnastics academy, based at Lee Chapel Primary School, while her daughter, Sasha, competes with the iStar GB team. Ms Velicko said: “I was with them in Barcelona. It was shocking. We went and the team had all their equipment and their leotards stolen.

“Next week we have a major competition in Redbridge, which is part of the selection process for the European Championships.

“Ahead of those, the team are without leotards.

“We are trying to support them at Basildon Gymnastics Academy because the team is self-funded and we are very close to the club.”

Ms Velicko added that the team had received support for this from other gymnastic teams across the UK after building a reputation from competing at a high level.

The equipment was stolen on January 29 while the team competed in Barcelona and was reported to Spanish authorities.

A spokesman for the group said: “Sadly, we’ve had no updates on our missing things from the police in Spain and are desperately trying to replace what we can for this year’s competition season coming up very soon.

“In an attempt to cover the costs of what we have lost, we’ve set up a collection pot which we would be massively grateful for if anyone could take a moment to share or donate. Anything is appreciated.”

The team have placed 17th at the 2021 World Championships in Japan and 16th at the 2022 European Championships in Israel.

The 100 per cent self-funded team is currently trying to raise £3,000 to replace their essential equipment.

Visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/dinburgh-ai?