Attacks by vandals will not spoil efforts of hard-working volunteers at a Lancaster cricket ground, says a club official.
Lancaster Cricket and Sports Club, on Lune Road, has been repeatedly targeted by vandals who have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the club over a three-year period.
Despite incidents of trespassing, vandalism, dog fouling and anti-social-behaviour, volunteer chairman Brendan Hetherington is positive about the future.
“Even though we do have these issues it doesn’t stop progress at the club or the hard work we do here,” said Brendan, who works as an IT consultant.
“It is a good sports club, we have been here since 1841, it is for local members, not somewhere for communal underage drinking.
“The club is run on a shoe string, by volunteers and its the club and its members that have to incur the costs to repair and replace.
“It is genuinely disheartening at times for those who put so much time and effort into trying to provide the best possible sporting facilities for people of Lancaster to enjoy.”
The club, a not-for-profit organisation, has between 60 and 70 volunteers and is home to a number of sports including tennis, hockey, cricket, bowls and football, where junior, adult and ladies teams play throughout the summer and winter season.
From June 2015 to June 2017 a number of incidents at the club have been reported to the police.
These include damage to the pavilion doors, CCTV being ripped down, a £4,000 outfield mower being burnt out on the outfield, trespassing and damage to the score box.
The score box, where score markers sit and storage is kept, has been targeted four times, the most recent being on June 12.
Young trespassers regularly sit on the club’s wall and have been nicknamed the “Lambrini crew”, said Brendan.
He said: “I don’t think there is anywhere for these kids to go, I am assuming they are kids because I don’t know anyone 18 or over who would be sitting on a wall with a group, drinking two and half litre bottles of Lambrini, smoking pot.
“All the buts and bottles get left and we have to pick it up.
“It doesn’t spoil it, it just means we have to constantly be on top of it.”
Members of the public have asked the club to think about gates at the premises to help deter trespassers but Brendan has said the club has not got the funds spare.
Although incidents have been regular the club prides itself on a progressive attitude.
They have seen the refurbishment of a brand new, all weather, state-of-the-art surface for the tennis courts, the introduction of junior football over the winter that along with Lancaster Ladies Hockey gives the club an all year footfall.
The club are also providing All Stars cricket, a country wide England and Wales Cricket Board initiative to introduce cricket to five to eight-year-olds.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We understand crimes of this nature can have a profound impact on victims and we are committed to tackling these issues. Anybody experiencing problems with anti-social behaviour, including vandalism, is urged to contact their neighbourhood policing team on 101, or 999 in an emergency.”
Lancaster Cricket and Sports Club would like to thank everyone for their moral support.