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£12,000 worth of damage caused by vandals at grassroots non league club

£12,000 worth of damage has been caused by vandals at grassroots non league club Orpington Rovers, based in the London borough of Bromley.

On Wednesday the 29th of June, dugouts which had been built by a parent to provide shelter for the children, were smashed down.

The culprits are yet to be caught, however the volunteer-led club say neighbours have reported youths jumping the fences, with some acting “hostile and aggressive”.

Ben Devonshire, a 45-year-old volunteer at the club, said: “We are really struggling with anti-social behaviour at the moment.

“It’s really disheartening that people are doing this because now we have to spend our hard-earned money fixing their damage.

“We’re all just volunteers and everyone’s feeling a bit flat.

“What is wrong with people?”

As per News Shopper, the last 12 months has been tough for the club, having seen their floodlights damaged with an air rifle, meaning they are prevented from training at night with the lights too pricey for them to fix.

A ‘respect banner’ which calls for inclusivity has also been broken and ripped down while goal frames are also wrecked.

Orpington Rovers FC say they will struggle to continue their community work if something isn’t done to stop this “mindless vandalism.”

Ben added: “On top of all this damage, teenagers are coming onto our pitches and leaving broken glass and laughing gas cannisters everywhere, so we have to clean it up when the kids come to play on a Sunday.

“Orpington Rovers FC ground is a privately owned facility and while we don’t mind children playing football, over time the respect of our club has diminished.

“It seems every week more and more vandalism is happening.”

The club are situated in an area which has a footpath leading to the ground from the road which means that people are able to access the pitches at night.

Ben said: “The path is not patrolled regularly so these people seem to have a free run of the club.

“We have considered CCTV but it’s another expense and it won’t necessarily deter people.

“A 24-hour security system is an additional expense, and will either increase fees or remove opportunities from the children – who are the focus of our time and effort.”

The Metropolitan Police confirm that this recent incident of vandalism was reported to them.

Orpington Rovers FC not only have 40 volunteers trying to help out, but also have former footballer Scott Minto as their club president.

The club has 19 teams which begins at under six-years-old and is currently investing heavily to get girls into football, after being accredited with a Wildcat status from the Football Association.

They said via their website: “Orpington Rovers Football Club is run entirely by volunteers. The club maintains its place in the world of football by having a dedicated membership and a strong committee. We believe in providing football for all and want to provide our community with facilities and fun.

“We have highly qualified coaches and have a superb well maintained football ground and we are very proud of the clubs continued successes.”

Social media users had their say with £12,000 worth of damage caused by vandals at grassroots non league club Orpington Rovers…

Paula Cook: For what purpose – what can be fun in that !! Truly terrible behaviour 😡😠

Sarah Teeluck: That’s disgusting!!! Have they got cctv?

Steve Rex: unfortunately not. Never had a reason for it as its only brick built dugouts and football pitches. 🤷‍♂️

Helen O’Connor Priestman: Absolutely heart breaking 💔😢😡 x

Julie Blackmore: Wtf! Such selfish and mindless people.

Holly Rawlins: How shit is this. So pointless and so sad to see. What a pointless thing to do 🤬🤬🤬

Brenda West: What bloody lowlife 😡 scumbag

Melissa Bishop: Proper scum what’s the point!! All the work going into getting this for the boys football ground for some little 🤬🤬🤬 to literally smash it down…..

Lisa Beesley: The future of this world actually scares me ☹️

Lynsey Thomas: That’s unbelievable!!!! Xx

Daniel Hobbs: 🤦‍♂️🤬 unbelievable

Lorraine Higgs: Unbelievable I don’t know what goes through their heads what a bloody horrible thing to happen 😞

Jason Lee: seeing this happen so many times throughout the non league pyramid, where, how, why do people/kids get off doing this. really pissing me off the lack of respect, the culprits have no idea how much damage this causes and costs to repair, they should be made to pay it for the rest of their life

Credit: Orpington Rovers
Congratulations to U10 Tigers, winners of the Tandridge League Autumn Silver Chalice Cup. Well done to all involved!
Credit: Orpington Rovers
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