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‘Heartbreak’ as children’s football pitch is wrecked

A community football club for children has had their pitch ruined by vandals this week.

It is not the first time Fairstead Community Football Club’s pitch at the Gaywood Community Centre was damaged by a vehicle driving over the field.

Bob Dickens, chairman of the club, said it is “heartbreaking” as his under-13s team will not be able to play on the pitch while they wait for the grass to repair.

Having had a game on the pitch on Sunday afternoon, Mr Dickens’ son Ricky Toll, who is the manager of the team, popped down on Monday lunchtime to find the field had been wrecked by a vehicle doing “doughnuts”.

The state the pitch was found in on Monday lunchtime
The state the pitch was found in on Monday lunchtime

Mr Dickens said the vandalism would have occurred after 4pm on Sunday when they left following the game.

“This is affecting a bunch of 12 and 13 year-olds who can’t go out on a Thursday and Saturday to take their frustrations out,” he said.

“I am a community welfare officer so from my point of view it’s heartbreaking as football gets the kids off the streets and gives them something to do rather than vegetating at home on the PlayStation.”

The police have been notified since one of the players in the team is the daughter of a police officer.

Mr Dickens said a group of boy racers used to gather at Halfords and now do so at the cemetery drive near the pitch.

“They go racing up and down and nothing seems to be done,” he added.

“The CCTV picks up next to nothing as it is blocked by a tree from the cemetery.”

Such vandalism has occurred “frequently” over the past three football seasons with the pitch found in a similar state in August last year.

Mr Dickens continued: “We have been in touch with the council about lighting. It is a question of funds to put up lights and cameras.

“It’s a shame that this keeps happening. It’s something we are struggling to resolve.”

Children in the team will be putting leaflets through the letterboxes of nearby houses to see if anyone has seen anything.

West Norfolk Council has confirmed workers are due to be sent to the site today to begin the process of repairing the ground.

A spokesman yesterday said the incident was believed to have only caused surface damage to the ground.


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