Vandals strike for a second time at sports facilities

Mark Sickling with one of the smashed windows at Greatham Sports Field
Mark Sickling with one of the smashed windows at Greatham Sports Field

A POLICE probe has been launched after a second mindless vandal attack on a new sports facility within weeks.

Greatham Sports Field Association launched a community fundraising campaign to buy the cabin-style changing rooms on the playing field in the village with the aim of eventually making it a community sporting hub for adults and children.

A smashed window at Greatham Sports Field

A smashed window at Greatham Sports Field

Just three weeks after the changing rooms arrived in February, vandals smashed one of the windows with stones as reported by the Mail on March 10.

Then last Sunday, witnesses saw three yobs on a quad bike, ride over to the cabins, kick in two of the doors before smashing three windows and daubing obscene graffiti all over a wall.

The witnesses chased the yobs before police were called, and scenes of crime experts have been out to the site to look for clues to try and establish the identity of the perpetrators.

Despite thugs seeming intent on ruining the project, the volunteers who are running it say they will “not be beaten”.

Mark Sickling with one of the smashed windows at Greatham Sports Field

Mark Sickling with one of the smashed windows at Greatham Sports Field

Mark Sickling, member of Greatham Sports Field Association, said: “I got a phone call from some of the locals who had chased three lads on a quad bike. They had come over from the British Steel grounds and drove straight up to the cabins.

“The booted the doors in, smashed three windows from the inside and defaced one of the walls with a can of spray paint.

“The doors are irreparable, they’re going to have to be replaced.”

The 48-year-old said: “Despite this I don’t feel like rapping in though, quite the opposite. These absolute idiots aren’t going to beat me or us.

Mark Sickling with one of the smashed windows at Greatham Sports Field

Mark Sickling with one of the smashed windows at Greatham Sports Field

“They can keep coming back and we’ll keep getting back up.

“Unfortunately funds don’t allow us to get all the necessary protections in place. We could do with pre-formed wired mesh over the windows, CCTV and more protection for the doors, but we don’t have that so we just have to work with what we’ve got and keep on going.

“We’ve got the manpower but we just don’t have the funds. We’ll get there though, and we’ll just have to beg and borrow materials so we can fix what we can.

“My football team will play down on that field in August, it’s as simple as that.”

A smashed door at Greatham Sports Field

A smashed door at Greatham Sports Field

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police confirmed the crime and said officers are investigating.

She said: “Just after 8pm on Sunday, March 15, we received a call reporting that about 4.45pm there had been a break in at the cabins. Police officers attended the scene and inquiries are ongoing.”

Greatham Sports Field Association works tirelessly on the upkeep and development of the playing field, and bought the changing facilities for £2,200 to allow the hosting of football games, and other sporting events.

It represents a huge step forward for Greatham Sports Field Association and also the Greatham Bull and Dog Football Club, which Mark runs, and paves the way for more exciting times ahead.

The Greatham Sports Field Association, which has to find £2,000 per year just for the sports field upkeep and rent, has been running for 17 years and fundraising for changing facilities for the last several years.