FUMING football club bosses today slammed thieves who stole a £7,500 tractor used to keep junior pitches trim.
Washington Football Club’s Spout Lane site has become a target for vandals since the team’s senior side, which competes in Division Two of the Northern League, started to play its games at Nissan two seasons ago.
Despite the change of venue, the Concord ground is still used by the club’s four junior teams as well as dog and keep fit groups on a regular basis.
Over the bank holiday weekend, thieves broke into a lock-up at the ground and stole a tractor which is used to cut the grass at the pitch.
Chairman of the club, Derek Armstrong, hit out at those responsible, who he says are ruining the hard work of dedicated volunteers.
He said: “It’s unbelievable. We’ve had a lot of problems with vandalism and people taking pitchforks, spanners and hammers, but this is something else.
“It’s going to be very hard for us to maintain the grass without the tractor now.”
Mr Armstrong added efforts to keep equipment safe at Spout Lane have proved harder and harder in recent times.
He said: “We’ve tried to replace the locks, but the vandals just keep smashing them off.
“The police have caught people with drugs on them as the clubs are usually finished by 9pm so it’s become a bit of a refuge for users. This is a community facility, which is used by a lot of people in the Concord area, so I don’t understand why they do it.”
Committee members are now calling on anyone with information to contact police over the theft of the tractor, which Mr Armstrong admits will be difficult to replace because of its cost.
“I’ve called the company who make the tractors and obviously we won’t be able to afford to get another one,” he said. “Somebody in the community must know what has happened to it and it would be great if someone could report where it is to the police so that we can get it back.”
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said officers are now investigating the theft.
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.