Villagers 'shocked and upset' after football pitch vandalism

Rickling Green Football Pitch vandalism

Broken goal with storage room in background - Credit: Supplied by Ted Crow

Changing rooms and storage areas at a community football pitch have been trashed by vandals.

A break-in at Rickling Green ground on the evening of Sunday March 28 resulted in approximately £1,000 in damage.

The offenders also threw beer cans and bottles into trees and smashed them, and ate sausages and chocolate biscuits while sitting at the site. 

Ted Crow, deputy chairman at Quendon and Rickling Parish Council, visited the ground the morning after the vandalism occurred: “We saw a chair sticking out of the window. 

“Someone had broken into the compound and we found that they smashed the door, ripped it off its hinges, pulled it out and threw it into the bushes."

He added: “They threw everything into the bushes and the hedges. 

“They kicked the doors at the changing rooms, they smashed all the windows and threw glass bottles through the windows.” 

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Mr Crow is one of three volunteers running the facilities for local clubs, and revealed his disappointment at the sight of the football pitch which “took hundreds of hours to get in shape”.

The volunteers are not planning to make any repairs because of a lack of funds and the level of damage. 

The pitch has been there since 1975 and the councillor said it is one of the best in the area, serving players of all ages, but there is vandalism in the area on a weekly basis, including broken signs and slashed nets. 

R4U Uttlesford District Councillor Neil Hargreaves called the crime “so unnecessary and destructive”. 

But he said the police are taking it very seriously, and they now have fingerprints and DNA evidence. 

A spokesperson for Quendon and Rickling Parish Council added: “The village and parish council are very shocked and upset by the damage done. We are at a loss as to understand such wanton destruction.  

“Much time and energy are spent by volunteers in maintaining the football pitches. Perhaps those responsible could put their energy into helping preserve and maintain this much-valued asset." 

An Essex Police spokesperson said they would not comment on what evidence was taken at the crime scene, but that the investigation continues.