Smashed seats, fire starting and drug taking: Bridgnorth football club in community plea after daily damage
One of Shropshire's leading football clubs has issued a plea after youths are reported to have been starting fires, taking drugs and smashing seats at the ground "on a daily basis".
Members of AFC Bridgnorth have spoke of their "distraught emotions" following the incidents, which the club said involves teenagers trespassing and using dugouts to take drugs.
Youths have also reportedly been starting fires and smashing spectator seating on the main stand.
Volunteers have been repairing holes created to gain access to the Crown Meadow ground from behind the main stand, and highlighted the hours of work taken to ensure the community has usable sporting facilities.
Mark Weale, club chairman, said: "It's been going on for a while, but since the Covid-19 situation it's been happening all the time.
"It used to be just at the weekends but they're coming in every other night now. They're playing loud music, they're drinking and there's definitely drug taking – we've found the remnants of drug taking.
"There's been fire damage to one of the dugouts and it's just the mess they leave. They're breaking through the fence and leaving cans, bottles and broken glass.
"It's very frustrating having to clear everything up before we can do anything. If someone were to slide on glass that would result in a serious injury."
In a statement, the club said: "We are asking the Bridgnorth community to have a kind word with our lovely teenagers, as we are having damage on a daily basis to AFC Bridgnorth estate.
"The dugouts are used every evening for hanging out and drug taking (we have evidence of this), we are having fires set and seats in the main stand smashed.
"We are in the process of mending holes they have made to enter from the Crown Meadow behind the main stand.
"Please be reminded this is private property and we as volunteers spend hours to maintain this for our community to use.
"We also have residents surrounding the ground who don't need this intimidation.
"Thank you so much for your kind cooperation."
Mr Weale added: "We try to be good to the young people in the town. If they want to use our toilets we let them and if it's raining on a quiet day we'll let them come shelter in the club.
"We haven't reported it to the police as we don't want to burden them with this but we might have to start staying overnight to catch them in the act.
"Yesterday morning we'd found they'd had a party the night before and it shows they're coming in daily.
"Every penny is extremely precious to us so we don't want to have to spend £300-400 on repairing the fence or dugouts."
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