VANDALS have struck three times in a week at the Abbey Lawn in Bourne.
Gutters, bollards and fences have all been damaged at Bourne Town Football Club’s ground, leaving a repair bill estimated at £1,000.
Chairman Nicky Hawkins discovered fences protecting the goalmouth had been torn up and the stand was full of broken glass when she arrived for Monday night’s match against Huntingdon.
On Saturday morning club officials had found three light bollards, which were cemented into place, had been knocked over and smashed up. And on Wednesday night last week guttering had been torn down but volunteers from the club fixed it.
Bourne United Charities, which owns the land, spent £80,000 four years ago installing a fence and lockable gates. It imposed a curfew, which is 10pm in summer, to combat problems with vandalism.
But Bourne Town Football Club secretary Bob Lambert said the club was still experiencing problems.
He said: “When the gates are opened later at this time of year it happens every time.
“I know for a fact the locking of the gates doesn’t deter them. They still get in after the curfew.”
Mr Lambert said the bollards, which were installed by Bourne United Charities to light the path from the Abbey Lawn entrance to the football ground, were “ totally trashed”.
He said: “We have had to get in electricians, at our expense, to sort out the wiring systems which have been left exposed.
“We have just pulled up the two remaining posts. It is just better to be done with them now.
“The walkway is now completely dark as they were there to light the path when he have night games.”
He said the club was hoping to host bingo nights but had lost the opportunity because the lights were gone.
He added: “We just dread to think what is going to happen next. We just can’t take any more.”
Chairman of Bourne United Charities Trevor Hollinshead said the fence had improved the situation with vandalism. He said: “There is always going to be a minority of people who cause trouble.”
In the past during the school holidays Bourne United Charities have employed a security firm to carry out patrols.
Mr Hollinshead said: “We have not had any this year because it is not really the time of year that we have needed them.
“We are always looking for solutions to vandalism problems and we will discuss it further in our next meeting.
“Since the fence went up I think most people would agree the Abbey Lawn is looking better for it.”
Mr Lambert said the football club was insured and it would be discussing whether to claim at a committee meeting on Monday.
He said the club had not reported the damage to police because it do not feel it had helped in the past.
Police community support officer Graeme Parrott has seen the damage. He said: “There has been a vast improvement with vandalism on the Abbey Lawn since the has been put in place and they have spent quite a bit of money clearing areas so there are less places for kids to hide. But the fence has had a dramatic influence.
“I can understand why they might be slow to report it. If there is no witness, no evidence, or no CCTV footage there is very little we can do unfortunately.
“However it would help if people can report incidents quicker because we can put our appeals out quicker and are much more likely to get results back.”