Vandalism destroys Redbourn village cricket pitch

Vandals have caused more then £5,000 of damage to the community cricket pitch

Vandals have caused more then £5,000 of damage to the community cricket pitch - Credit: Archant

Villagers have been left devastated following the destruction of two community areas by vandals.

Redbourn Cricket Club pitch on North Common and Millennium Gardens on the High Street have suffered thousands of pounds worth of damage after people on suspected quad bikes deliberately drove over them.

The first incident resulted in flower beds at the Millennium Gardens being ruined by deep tyre marks between Friday Feb 13 and 14.

There was an even more severe case of vandalism at Redbourn cricket pitch in the early hours of Saturday (21) morning.

It is believed the vandals were ‘doughnutting’ on the grounds, and police have confirmed the two incidents are likely to be linked.

The destruction of the club’s cricket pitch comes after a recent £15,000 refurbishment of the clubhouse and repairs to the pitch could cost the community-run club between £5,000 and £10,000.

The club has to raise the extra money and fix the pitch in time for next season which starts in eight weeks.

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It is not the first time the club has faced adversity, with another instance of vandalism and a clubhouse fire occurring in recent years.

Chairman, James Bunce, said: “We’re devastated. This club has gone through so much in the past five years. The clubhouse has been burned down and we’ve had our grounds damaged twice. Every time we think we’ve got on the right road something else happens.”

The club is relying on savings and the generosity of their members to ensure the pitch is fixed.

Some, including James, have already got to work trying to fix the grounds themselves but the cold weather makes it difficult.

He added: “We did all that we could but with the impending frost, the grass has nothing to take to.”

It is thought that the vehicles involved drove straight into the protective rope and bollards, which are now dented.

James added: “The vehicle they were driving must be damaged.”

County and district councillor Maxine Crawley has been dealing with calls from nearby residents about the incidents.

She said: “I’m appalled at the destructive behaviour.”

She found the damage to the Millennium Gardens particularly disturbing, adding: “Our garden is precious to us and we hope that who has done this is caught and puts it right. They should put it right themselves.”

The culprit(s) responsible for the destruction have yet to be caught.

The theft of two dirt bikes worth £1,200 from a Harpenden garage may be linked to the vandalism.

Thieves forced open a padlocked garage in Beeching Close and stole the bikes some time between February 10 andFebruary 20 when the theft was discovered.

The bikes, a Demon X XLR 160 and a Super Stomp 125, had been stored in the garage since they were purchased in September last year.

Rochelle Williams, the girlfriend of one of the bike owners, said: “It’s unsettling to know that the garage was broken into, it makes us feel as though people had watched and maybe targeted the garage. We’re really disappointed”

There had been eyewitness reports of the bikes being spotted in Harpenden town centre on Saturday and then possibly again at the Redbourn cricket pitch over the weekend.

Police are appealing to witnesses to the theft or vandalism to contact them on the non-emergency number 101.