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Chemical fears sees youth football cancelled after ‘morons’ vandalise pitch

PUBLISHED: 12:25 18 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:35 18 January 2020

The damaged pitch in Swanton Morley. Picture: Cockers FC.

The damaged pitch in Swanton Morley. Picture: Cockers FC.

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A Norfolk youth football club was forced to cancel their practice sessions over chemical fears after their pitch was vandalised overnight.

The damaged pitch in Swanton Morley. Picture: Cockers FC.The damaged pitch in Swanton Morley. Picture: Cockers FC.

Players at Swanton Morley Rovers FC were due to train on the pitch at the village hall on the morning of Saturday, January 18, but the turf had sustained heavy damage overnight.

It is believed that a group of teenagers had ran amok with a dry powder fire extinguisher and sprayed it all around the pitch and over part of the clubhouse.

Roger Atterwill, chairman of Swanton Morley Parish Council and Breckland councillor, said that the vandals were caught on CCTV, and that the facility "should be back up and running in a day or two".

He said: "The cleaner and the caretaker have been up there this morning clearing up. I don't think there's any lasting damage, we just couldn't let the children play on the pitch because of the chemicals - we need to sort that out.

Roger Atterwill, chairman of Swanton Morley Parish Council and Breckland councillor. Picture: Matthew Usher.Roger Atterwill, chairman of Swanton Morley Parish Council and Breckland councillor. Picture: Matthew Usher.

"They're idiots, but we've got the images and we'll be in touch with the police.

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"I'm really disappointed for the children who were supposed to be up here for their football practice. Swanton Morley Rovers is a large, thriving football team and there's always a great community feel, but we've had to call that all of.

"There's no lasting damage for the premises, I just feel sorry for the kids who have had their weekend fun spoiled."

Steve Grange from Swanton Morley Rovers FC confirmed that they had cancelled training "for safety reasons".

A club statement, released on Saturday, said: "Due to vandalism, all training on the main field has been cancelled for today.

"We will post further information regarding Sunday's matches when we know more. Alternatively, please contact your team manager for further information."

Doug King, manager of Central and South Norfolk League Division Three side Cockers FC, who also use the pitches at the site off Mann's Lane, said that they have not yet been directly affected as they do not have a scheduled home game until the first weekend in February.

He did, however, condemn the act, branding the vandals "morons".

He said: "I've been doing this for 18 years - nothing surprises me anymore. They're morons, they don't think about their actions."


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