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Lyndhurst Football Club facilities could be closed to public after repeated vandalism

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FOOTBALL club facilities in Lyndhurst could be closed to the public unless repeated vandalism is stopped, a frustrated groundsman has warned.

Dugouts were damaged, goal nets cut and a clubhouse rear window smashed in the latest of several attacks on Coles Mead Recreation ground, off Wellands Road, last Monday.

Jason West, who is also the village club’s secretary and first adults team manager, hit out at the vandals and told the A&T the problem was getting worse and seemed to be a monthly occurrence.

Dug-outs were damaged (photo: Hampshire police)
Dug-outs were damaged (photo: Hampshire police)

“It does your head in,” he said. “I try to make it nice for people to still use the facilities, but it just gets damaged.

“It will get to the point where we’ll just have to leave stuff locked up and they won’t be able to play there anymore.”

Previous incidents included picnic benches being set alight and a CCTV camera destroyed in the junior area.

Goal nets were cut and a club house window was smashed (photo: Hampshire police)
Goal nets were cut and a club house window was smashed (photo: Hampshire police)

Lyndhurst Parish Council said the latest damage amounted to £1,000.

Although normal games were not affected as the season has finished, a charity match with Saints players is due to take place on 17th June.

But Mr West said he had had to repair the dug-outs for the event, in aid of the village’s New Forest Small School, the community centre and the Southampton Foundation.

“We’re in a stable position with funding at the moment, but when you start eating into it for something stupid like that and you then need the funds for something else, you don’t have them,” he added.

Club groundsman and secretary Jason West
Club groundsman and secretary Jason West

Parish council chair Cllr Chris Willsher said it was working with police to identify those responsible for the “unnecessary” vandalism.

“Destruction of property, much of which has been donated by the public, is very upsetting,” Cllr Willsher told the A&T.

“Police officers will be carrying out increased targeted patrols of the area but we also urge parents to talk to their children and if they experience or witness anti-social behaviour, to report it so that we can work in partnership to identify those responsible and avoid similar issues.

“These are isolated events and must not overshadow the wealth of enjoyment experienced by the diverse users of the recreation facility.”

Anyone with information should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44220205482, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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