MoD axes charity car boot sales on its Southsea sports pitches

Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon speaking on board HMS Queen Elizabeth as the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier sets sail from Lossiemouth for the latest in a series of sea trials on Monday, July 24. Picture: PO PHOT Ray Jones/MoD/PA Wire

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THE Ministry of Defence has pulled the plug on charity car boot sales being held on its sports pitches in Southsea.

The events, which were advertised as the biggest car boot sale in the south, were held on MoD’s Clarence playing fields at Long Curtain Road every Sunday throughout the summer months to raise cash for the United Services Sports Club (USSC).

But the MoD has withdrawn its consent for use of the land near Clarence Pier because of the lasting damage it causes to its sport pitches.

It comes after Portsmouth City Council banned car boot sales on Castle Field at Southsea seafront last year saying, they were ‘too downmarket’.

An MoD spokesman said: ‘Car boot sales held at Clarence playing fields have damaged the surface of the sports pitches.

‘As the Ministry of Defence will now be investing in its sports facilities there and upgrading the pitches to a better playing standard it therefore needs to withdraw the fields as a venue for the United Services Sports Club’s car boot sales.

‘The MoD and Royal Navy continue to be fully supportive of the USSC and its other fundraising events but are no longer in a position to offer Clarence playing fields as a venue for car boot sales.’

Regular car boot shopper Anne Bates, of Henderson Park, Eastney, wants the decision to be overturned.

She said: ‘The council has already stopped car boots at Castle Field and we were always so sure the navy would never do the same to Clarence.

‘There are donations given to charities who will lose out if this closes.

‘People come from far and near to experience a great day out walking up and down the lanes.

‘Southsea hasn’t got anything like Clarence car boot – why take it away from us? Summer Sundays won’t be the same without it.’

No-one could be contacted for comment from the United Services Sports Club last night.