‘We don’t want to shut off the club’ - warning as antisocial behaviour blights football ground

Damage caused to one of the goalposts used by Ottery Football Club youngsters and the community. Pic

Damage caused to one of the goalposts used by Ottery Football Club youngsters and the community. Picture: Mike Ringer - Credit: Archant

The club said its an action it does not want to take.

'Unruly' behaviour could see a football club close its facilities to the community after it was blighted by antisocial behaviour and damage.

Ottery Football Club, in Washbrook Meadow, says it might have to take 'firm action' after spiralling repairs have pushed members close to breaking point.

In the last seven days, the club has found smashed sheds, broken goals, benches ripped from the ground, rubbish and fences pushed down.

Goalposts used by the club's youngest players and the community have been damaged on four occasions, costing £168 a time to repair.

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Mike Ringer, said it had become 'tiresome' that a small minority was ruining it for the community and members may be forced to consider closing the club off.

Mr Ringer said: "Over the past six months we have had vandalism and unruly behaviour along with rudeness and complete disrespect from a small minority of younger people.

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"It's getting to the point where that small amount of people ruining it for the kids who want to come down and have a kick a ball.

"It's ruining it for everyone else and the club gets a bad reputation off the back of it. Have a bit of respect that's all we ask.

"We don't want to completely shut the facilities off. However, if it continues we will have to look at this.

"Let's work together to keep the facilities in use for those that wish to use them in the manner they should be used."

With the summer holidays approaching, the club wants to encourage youngsters to come and play on its land and enjoy the outdoors.

The club has approached Ottery Town Council and the police to help put a stop to the behaviour and called on the community to support their local club.

Other issues include people entering the club via the hedges which when 'battered down' are pushed into the drainage ditch and could stop excess water draining away.

Ottery Police said it had been made aware of ongoing antisocial behaviour, criminal damage around the club and possible underage drinking.

PCSO Jonathan Sims said: "This behaviour is not associated with events held at the club and is just people coming onto the site and fields when the club is closed.

"The club have said that you will not be welcome on the site other than at functions or events.

"There has been significant damage caused to buildings and equipment and police will be looking at CCTV and any offenders will be dealt with robustly.

"The club is a key part of the community and it is such a shame that people are behaving in such a way."

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