Fears spate of vandalism at village football club could stop it expanding
- Credit: Peter Steward
A spate of vandalism on a Norfolk playing field could scupper a football club’s plans to expand, according to its chairman.
Over the past few weeks, goalposts have been vandalised and pulled out of the ground, stanchions ripped and holes made in pitches by vandals digging with spades on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field.
In addition, broken bottles have been thrown onto playing surfaces and, a few months ago, a quad bike was ridden across the pitches, turning grass into mud.
Chairman of Hethersett Athletic Football Club, Neal Luther, has appealed for local people to be vigilant and report any damage or vandalism they see or experience to Norfolk Police.
He said: "There seems to be a general lack of respect, and vandalism is holding the football club back.
"We provide competitive football for up to 300 players of all ages. Our adult Saturday team which plays on the Memorial Field is looking to step up to a higher league, but to do that we have to ensure our pitches are in good order.
"Last year we received a pitch maintenance grant, but this vandalism is seriously affecting us and our future.
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“We want to provide a safe place for people of all ages. Hethersett is growing rapidly and there will be more and more need for top class facilities free from vandalism. We need all the clubs and local people to work together to ensure we stop the damage by reporting incidents to the police."
Trustees of the Memorial Field have also reported graffiti, damage to litter bins, bolts being loosened on play equipment, and drain covers being lifted up on the cycle speedway track. The outdoor table tennis table was also vandalised and had to be professionally repaired.
Hethersett Memorial Playing Field is home to a number of sports clubs including the football club, Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway, Hethersett Playing Field Bowls Club, Hethersett Croquet Club and Norfolk Cricketers in Retirement.
Hethersett Parish Council and the playing field trustees are currently putting forward plans to replace the existing outdated pavilion with a purpose-built building that will serve the community as well as sports clubs.