Airguns and catapults used to break flood lights at Gravesend sports pitch

News Shopper: Karen Taylor, 53, who has been chairman of the sports trust since 2009, told News Shopper: "The vandalism is just getting worse and costing the trust thousands of pounds. Karen Taylor, 53, who has been chairman of the sports trust since 2009, told News Shopper: "The vandalism is just getting worse and costing the trust thousands of pounds.

Vandals have used airguns and catapults to cause thousands of pounds of damage to flood lights at a Gravesend sports pitch.

Hundreds of people use the pitches at Gravesend Rugby Club in Donald Biggs Way for hockey, football, rugby, cricket, school sports and a number of other youth programmes each week.

Volunteers from charity Gravesham Sports Trust, which runs and maintains the pitch - says it has spent more than £4,000 since February replacing the perspex covers and damaged lights.

The trust says the future of the club is in jeopardy because the pitch already needs to be resurfaced which will cost £200,000.

Karen Taylor, 53, who has been chairman of the sports trust since 2009, told News Shopper: "The vandalism is just getting worse and costing the trust thousands of pounds.

"It is run by volunteers and the more money we have to spend repairing the lights the less we have to repair the pitch which is coming to the end of its life.

"Hundreds of people use this pitch each week and it is the only one in north Kent, the others which are closest are in Erith and the Medway."

Pupils from Gravesend Grammar School for Boys in Church Walk use the sports pitches for their PE lessons.

Miss Taylor added: "We have been trying to fundraise for a new pitch and have had funding requests which have been unsuccessful.

"I can see in the not too distant future we may have to put a big padlock on it so nobody can use the pitch."

A Kent Police spokesman said: "We are investigating a report of four incidents of criminal damage at Gravesend Rugby Club, in Donald Biggs Drive, between February and June this year.

"On June 9, it was reported the ground’s flood lights had been smashed in four separate incidents, on February 10, February 18, April 27 and June 2.

"It is suspected projectiles were used to smash the perspex covers and damage the light bulbs.

"Police would urge anyone with information to contact them, quoting reference XY/20674/14."

If you are interesting in donating money to help pay for the new pitch, email gsportstrust@googlemail.com

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