A YOUTH football team has been left shocked after vandals broke into a storage shed and damaged training equipment.
Stubbington Youth FC face a hefty bill to replace broken doors, punctured footballs and smashed slalom poles.
The damage was first discovered at the recreation ground on Tuesday – days after the club had held its first youth tournament for local teams.
Vice-chairman Andrew Griffin told The News the club, which has 16 teams, had been left devastated by the incident.
He said: ‘We put everything away on Sunday night and then went back on Tuesday. We found the equipment had been used for a game of football,
‘They had taken a lot of the equipment, our slalom poles had been smashed.
‘Clearly quite a lot of the small footballs were used, kicked over the rec. Some were damaged and punctured.’
The damage was discovered by police patrols early on Tuesday morning, who then contacted the club to break the news.
Andrew said the vandals had broken through the main door into the storage cupboard, and had tried to get through into a second room but were not successful.
He added that he thought the vandals had struck on bank holiday Monday.
The club does not know exactly how much the damage will cost, but it is likely to take a large chunk out of the money made from the weekend’s competition.
About £1,000 profit was raised, a welcome boost for a club which receives little external funding.
Andrew, who has been at the club since 2011, said: ‘The committee and parents have put a lot of effort into the club and the tournament.
‘We had more than 20 teams come here from around the area and it was a really successful weekend.
‘To have to waste any of the money raised is really a kick in the teeth. I am proud of what this club has achieved in recent years.’
Despite the incident teams are continuing to train at the recreation ground.
But Andrew said: ‘It could disrupt our sessions with the youngest kids because we do not know how many size three balls we have left.’