Vandals caught smashing up seats at Lutterworth Town Football Club with hammers

The night-time attack has caused damage running into thousands of pounds

The furious owner of Lutterworth Town Football Club today slammed “mindless vandals” who smashed up one of their stands on New Year’s Eve with hammers.

Police are appealing for the public’s help after “mindless vandals” smashed up a stand at Lutterworth Town Football Club with hammers on New Year’s Eve.

Officers raced to the club’s 1,200-capacity ground on Dunley Way, Lutterworth, after the alarm was raised by shocked local residents.

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They rounded up and spoke to youths suspected of smashing up over 100 seats before taking them home, Leicestershire Police told the Harborough Mail today.

The furious owner of Lutterworth Town Football Club today slammed “mindless vandals” who smashed up one of their stands on New Year’s Eve with hammers.

And police are now urging anyone who has any information about the devastating attack to contact them immediately as they try to pinpoint the culprits.

“Shortly after 8.30pm on Friday (31 December) a report was received that a group of youths were causing damage to the football ground in Dunley Way, Lutterworth.

“Officers attended and found that damage had been caused to the seating area.

“Members of the group were located and taken home.

“A number of people have been spoken to in connection with the incident,” said police.

“Enquiries are continuing to ascertain the level of damage caused and identify those responsible.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact police, quoting reference 21*758282.”

Police are launching an investigation as outraged owner Andy Dixon, 52, slammed the vandals – saying the “rampage” has caused damage running into thousands of pounds.

The stunned builder warned the club’s whole future has been “thrown into serious doubt” after it’s been targeted repeatedly over the last few months.

Andy, who’s chairman of Town, known as The Swifts, told the Mail: “It’s absolutely devastating.

“It’s the worst possible way to end the old year and start the new.

“I cannot even begin to understand why these idiots do this.

“What do they get out of coming into our ground, our home, and destroying well over 100 seats with hammers?

“It’s just unbelievable.”

He hit out after the latest attack happened last Friday night.

Residents who live near the United Counties League outfit’s stadium leapt into action after hearing banging and crashing.

Andy, who lives in Whetstone, said they were quickly alerted by the local neighbourhood watch group.

The angry businessman said a gang were spotted ripping up seats and smashing them to bits with hammers.

"The police were called straight away,” said Andy, whose son Josh Dixon is the first-team’s manager.

“I understand that the police have the names of local teenagers suspected to have been involved.

“This is just the latest in a long line of attacks at our ground over the last few months.

“We are being targeted time and again.

“The parents and families of the kids doing this to us must know who they are.

“I’m calling on them now to do all they can to stop them doing this right away,” insisted Andy.

“We’d also appreciate it if both the parents and the youths came over to the ground and helped us repair the damage.

“Surely that’s the least they can do?”

He said they are especially vulnerable because they are bound to leave two side gates open at the ground – which is owned by Harborough District Council.

“We have got the stadium from the council on a 27-year lease.

“At the moment the gates have to remain open to let local kids play football here and for right of access.

“That’s part of the terms.

“But we want to see them locked up and the site properly secured,” said Andy.

“This is a massive ongoing issue.

“And we have got to put a stop to this relentless wave of damage now.

“We are fast reaching the point of no return.

“We have ploughed well over £100,000 into Lutterworth Town since we took over the club six years ago.

“We’ve spent £40,000 on new floodlights, we’ve built new changing rooms, we’ve renovated the clubhouse and bought new tractors.

“We are doing so well on the pitch and we’re punching well above our weight.

“We’re playing teams now from all over the country and doing Lutterworth proud,” said Andy.

“But we can’t continue like this.

“We just cannot afford to keep forking out to repair the damage caused time and again by these mindless vandals.

“Over the months we have had advertising hoardings smashed up, our dug-outs have been destroyed and rubbish thrown all over the pitch as well as dog-walkers coming in.

“We are facing a race against time now to repair all the damage and replace all the wrecked seats before our next home match.

“Aylestone Park FC in Leicester have offered to give us some new seats, which is very good of them, and we have a few spare ourselves.

“We have volunteers working up at the ground now doing their best to put this wanton destruction right,” said Andy.

“They are just brilliant.

“But why should they have to give up their bank holiday and work so hard on their day off because of the terrible criminal damage that these hooligans have carried out?

“We are hoping to meet Harborough council and police in the next few weeks to try to make our ground more secure and stop these attacks happening.

“Lutterworth Town is a thriving club right at the heart of the local community.

“We represent Lutterworth.

“But attacks like these reflect very poorly upon the town.

“The people responsible have to be caught and they have to face justice.”

Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough council, told the Mail: “This is terrible, just horrible.

“I condemn this mindless vandalism in the strongest possible terms.

“I am urging anyone who knows who did this or has any information to contact police immediately,” said the fuming Conservative council boss.

“Lutterworth Town are a very successful, well-run football club.

“Open space sports clubs like them are absolutely vital to the community, giving so many boys and girls, young men and women the chance to go out and play football.

“They are a huge asset to the community.

“I’m not too sure about all the fine details surrounding the ground’s side gates being left open.

“But I am happy to sit down and meet the club’s chairman to discuss how we can all work together to urgently improve security at the ground and stamp out this trouble.

“This sort of criminal lawless rampage is totally unacceptable and we won’t stand for it,” declared Cllr King.