Belfast Telegraph

Football club slams vandalism campaign

Portstewart FC says bill for damages is crippling

Some of the damage caused at Portstewart FC’s ground over the weekend
Some of the damage caused at Portstewart FC’s ground over the weekend
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

A football club is reeling over the ongoing targeting of its ground by vandals over the last few months.

The latest attack on Portstewart FC occurred last weekend and saw glass bottles smashed around the St John's Close pitch, wooden fences and gates broken and a plastic barrier damaged.

The Premier Intermediate side's community relations officer praised the response from local people after the club's committee decided to share pictures of the damage on its Facebook page.

The Seahawks, who are sitting in second spot in the Intermediate League, are concerned too much money is being spent on repairing the damage rather than going into the running of the club.

"It raises concerns for the health and safety of not only our own players but visiting players," said the community relations officer, who did not wish to be named. "These people maybe don't know the severity of their actions, but it was highlighted at the weekend after they broke gates, bottles and fencing as we decided to go public with this.

"We're trying to raise awareness of it and the response we have got from the local community has been tremendous.

"It's encouraging, the support they have given us."

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Portstewart FC is now considering the installation of CCTV cameras around the ground - another expenditure the club could do without.

"We're a voluntary club," added the officer.

"It takes an awful lot to run a football club and this is money that we can't afford to be paying out for repairs.

"You're paying a carpenter to repair the gates and also paying for the material. It all costs money to get these things repaired.

"We're looking to get CCTV to cover the dugouts and the clubhouse, but it's more of a deterrent. It has been going on for too long and the committee has decided to take this action.

"These people are destroying the club so we have to try and stop it in some way."

The PSNI has said it is aware of anti-social behaviour issues in the area and asked that anyone with concerns should contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1536 15/7/19.

A spokesman said: "Enquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances and officers will be carrying out additional patrols. We continue to work with partner agencies, local residents and community representatives to find solutions to any anti-social or criminal behaviour.

"Those involved in anti-social behaviour or any activity that is outside the law could find themselves with a criminal record, which could ultimately affect future travel, education and employment opportunities."

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