Washington's devastation after vandals destroy their pitches for second time in two months

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Washington AFC are appealing for help to raise money for fencing after vandals destroyed their pitches for the second time.

Head of Football at Washington AFC Gary Sykes at the club's ground on Stephenson Road, Washington which has been badly damaged by vehicles

A football club in Sunderland has been left devastated after vandals destroyed their pitches for the second time in just two months during a Christmas Eve attack.

Gary Sykes, who is Head of Football at Washington AFC, arrived at the ground on Stephenson Road, Washington, just before 5pm on December 26, to find an abandoned car on the pitch.

Deep tyre marks were left across the pitches from the car driving over the grounds, making it unusable for the club's 50 teams of adults and children.

Gary explained: "I went down on the off chance just to check on the building before Christmas and the police were there and a car was just left there.

"The car was driven around the field and when the police turned up they've run off into the trees."

The damage caused to Washington AFC's pitches

"It's just heartbreaking especially at this time of year when we can't really repair it."

It's the second time the club has been targeted by vandals following a similar attack in October.

But Gary said this time the state of the pitch is much "worse" and he expects at least one of the pitches will be out of action until spring.

He said: "It's heartbreaking for the volunteers and ground staff who have put so much effort into this club."

"It's been a really difficult year for everybody and to come back to this it's even worse. It's going to be really hard to get them back to how they were. It's just devastating."

The pitch is repaired and maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers who Gary said have been left "heartbroken" by the damage.

They not only work as groundsmen but they also help coach the club's footballers.

Gary said: "We're just a community club which provides for the boys and girls in our local community."

"It gives our boys and girls the opportunity to come along, learn some skills, learn how to play football and it's also very much a social thing for a lot of people too."

The football club is now trying to raise £8,000 for fencing which they hope will ensure that the pitches will be protected from this kind of vandalism.

You can read the original article from the Chronicle Live HERE

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