Suspected arson attack at Paultons Cricket Club in the New Forest
LOCAL cricket clubs have rallied round Paultons CC in the New Forest this morning (Thursday) after suspected arsonists destroyed the team's pavilion.
Firefighters were called to the club, between Ower and Copythorne, at about 6am after a van was believed to have been driven onto the pitch, left near the building and set alight.
Crews from Redbridge, Romsey, St Mary’s and Eastleigh battled for about two hours to contain the emergency, and police have asked for witnesses to get in touch.
Paultons CC chair Mark Lamb, who has played for the club for 36 years, said: “Basically it was a stolen car and it’s broken through the gates, done a couple of doughnuts on our square, parked outside the club and then they’ve set it alight.
“It’s burnt down our away changing room and the pool room. Until the insurance company sends out a structural engineer we do not know what other damage has been done.”
Several cricket clubs, including Totton and Eling, Cadnam, and Calmore Sports, have already offered to help.
Mr Lamb, who is also skipper of the third team, continued: “Everyone at the club is absolutely gutted. We were just starting to get in the mood to start preparing for the new season and now we have got this.
“Hopefully the club can be saved and we can rebuild. No-one has died and we have got support already from plenty of other New Forest clubs who have pledged help.
“We have also had guys that played 30 years ago that have turned up to see what they can do and help, which has been really nice.”
Posting on Facebook, the club’s colts coordinator Nicola Lamb said: "We'll be back. Can't let all our little people down this season!”
Those with information should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44220035829, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.