Vandals damaged a fence put up to stop off-road vehicle users wrecking sports pitches just two days after it was put up.
Offenders attacked a post and panel of the 122m-long metal boundary put up along the edge of the fields used by Golborne Sports Junior Football Club (JFC) and Golborne High School.
The fence was put up last Wednesday and had already attracted unwanted attention by Friday evening, with the damage being discovered when the football club went to inspect the pitches before its Saturday morning games.
The club and school have been plagued by motorbikes, quad bikes and 4x4s gaining access to the pitches and churning them up by driving on them and doing ‘donuts’ manoeuvres.
Sports enthusiasts are currently fund-raising for the new security measures but the company agreed to put the fence up early due to the scale of the problems.
The club says the latest incident shows the scale of the issue but is slightly heartened by the fact those responsible did not actually get onto the field.
Club secretary Sean Gallimore said: “It’s a nightmare but it shows what we’re up against. One of the coaches saw the damage. Initially we thought they had pushed it with a car but I think now they’ve just kicked or hit it repeatedly.
“If it’s going to get damaged like this then we may have to put some of the fund-raising money aside for repairs. We’re also possibly going to reinforce the posts with concrete.
“We’ve reported it to the police and they have said they are going to try to keep an eye on it as well.”
Large boulders put in place to deter vehicles have been pushed close to the new fence to further prevent bikes and cars gaining access.
The club has been plagued for several years by problems with powerful off-road vehicles going on the fields and making them unplayable, leading to home games having to be played away or switched to other grounds. Sports teams from the high school have also been affected by the state of the field.
Sean said further security measures are now being considered but hit out at the fact that such steps were necessary.
He said: “They can get access from the other side of the field too so we’re getting prices for anti-motorbike access gates. That’s the next stage.
“Eventually we may have to come to an agreement with the school about having CCTV cameras covering the fencing. It’s ridiculous, you expect CCTV to protect premises being broken into, not going onto fields and running vehicles.”
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) say the latest criminal damage incident took place between 5pm on Friday April 28 and 9am on Saturday April 29, with an unknown offender accessing the Lowton Road site via Waterworks Lane and then fleeing the scene after attacking the fence.
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or ring independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Golborne Sports JFC and Golborne High School have launched an appeal to raise £7,500 for the new fencing and a number of community events are planned to bring in cash over the coming months.
To find out more or donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/golbornesports