Vandals who badly damaged a number of pitches used by young Melton rugby players by driving over them, skidding and performing ‘donuts’ have been labelled ‘wanton and mindless’ by the club.
The incidents, off Burton Road, will cost Melton Rugby Club hundreds of pounds to repair and have disrupted scheduling of matches for several teams.
The offenders drove across a series of pitches but did signifcant damage to three, stripping the grass in some cases to a level of just two inches.
The three worst-affected pitches support matches and training for Under 8s and Under 11s mixed rugby, Under 13 girls, boys’ teams at Under 13, 14, 15 and 16 level and the senior men’s 3rd XV games.
Steve Dudman-Millbank, chair of the club’s mini and junior section, told the Melton Times: “It is extremely disappointing that a club managed by volunteers operating a diverse policy of support in the community to enable all children the opportunity to develop and grow in a team sport, should be targeted by wanton mindless joyriding vandals who really have no thoughts or comprehension of the depth and breadth of the impact they have had.
“Full repair will take hundreds of pounds and will take some time to fully recover with it requiring work now and throughout the rest of the season as well as during the off season.
“Someone out there knows who is responsible and the club would urge anyone who has any information to contact the police as soon as possible.”
The club is particularly unhappy because one of the pitches badly affected is used by a new girls’ section, which is proving increasingly popular.
Mr Dudman-Millbank added: “We will have some logistical issues in trying to reallocate pitches in the coming weeks in order to rest the pitches, but we will aim to keep the show on the road and keep as many of the girls and boys playing and training as much as possible in safe conditions.
“However, one of the key concerns is that this season is the first full season that our club has been redeveloping a fully supported girls playing section and as this group has been growing and bonding.”
Some of the players joined coaches and parents at the club on Saturday in a bid to partly repair some of the damage by replacing some of the turf and forking some of the worst- affected areas on the pitches.