Mindless vandals target community football club in Ilkeston

Burnt-out motorbike outside the club gates.
Burnt-out motorbike outside the club gates.

A popular community football club at the heart of Ilkeston which is being targeted by “selfish” yobs says it is determined to stop mindless acts of vandalism from hampering their progress.

Stanton Ilkeston Football Club, which is currently in the process of a major £500,000 development project, has been hit by a number of anti-social behaviour incidents on the leased site, including a burnt out motorbike being left outside the club’s gates and a new £20,000 perimeter gate damaged by louts gluing sticks through the locks - forcing players to have to use bolt cutters so they can gain access to the pitches.

Expanding foam has been used by yobs to damage the locks to the pitches.

Expanding foam has been used by yobs to damage the locks to the pitches.

Not only that, the offenders have covered the gate in vandal grease and more recently returned to attack the locks of the fence with expanding foam.

In total, the club have had to replace seven padlocks because of the persistent acts.

The attacks come after the club decided to put up the fence to create a safe environment for the children after dozens of bottles and cans of alcohol and needles were found strewn across the playing area before matches.

The club now feel that they have no option but to consider using CCTV cameras on the premises.

Chairman of the football club, Rob Kirk, said: “It is disappointing because we are trying to enhance the area for the good of the community.

“The work that we carrying out is not just for us, it is for everybody. It is a bit narrow minded from whoever is doing it - they cannot see the bigger picture.

“It is selfish but it is not going to stop us.”

“It is more annoying than anything. It is sad.”

The club is currently in the middle of a big community project which will give the area a huge boost once completed.

The plans, which have been ongoing for about four years, would see a new community pavilion built and the regeneration of another area into a suitable playing surface which could then be used to play games on.

The pavilion will also include a community room which will be open for all to use, including the RAF Cadets and Zumba groups.

Blueprints for the proposals were set in motion in 2014 and the club has had to overcome a number of obstacles to make it happen.

The latest problem being that the site has derelict mine shafts on the site.

The shafts and coal seems need to be located and treated before any progress can be made.

For this to take place, the club needed to find an additional £5,000 for a non-intrusive magnetometer survey followed by a further intrusive survey - costing £15,000 in total.

The survey work is now underway and as long as the club does not face any other problems, the pavilion and levelling work will start in spring and be completed this time next year.

The project is funded by the club, NHS, the Football Foundation and Sport England amongst others.

Mr Kirk said: “The project is now back on track.

“It will mean a great deal to a lot of people.”

“We are willing to meet with anyone to explain why the fence was erected.”