A JUNIOR football team had to cancel fixtures after a giant image of male genitals were burnt into the pitch.
Shocked players at Lee Rangers had to play elsewhere after the discovery was made on January 16 and the home games relocated.
It’s thought a chemical was used to burn the image into the grass at the recreation ground off Salisbury Terrace, Lee-on-the-Solent.
A Lee Rangers spokesman said: ‘I’m sure the people who did this don’t appreciate the inconvenience this caused for our football club.
‘Teams are having to play matches on a different ground which is not as easy to get to for the young players.
‘The club is also losing income from the tea hut whilst having to play elsewhere.’
The image, uncovered by News school reporter Alex Scott-Evans was less than 100 metres from Lee Junior School. The ground is also used be families and dog walkers.
Gosport Borough Council said its officers believe the perpetrators used a chemical to burn the penis into the grass.
Depicted in the style of the Cerne Abbas Giant – a 180ft image of a man on a hill in Dorset – the vandalism has cost taxpayers £750 in a repair bill.
Councillor Graham Burgess, chair of the council's community board, added: ‘What may have seemed like a joke has actually caused hundreds of pounds of damage and inconvenienced the football club who had to cancel and relocate matches.
‘If you notice any acts of vandalism taking place in the area please report it to the police.’
A statement from Gosport Borough Council added: ‘An area had to be fenced off and the issue discussed with turf specialist consultants and suppliers who recommended that the damaged turf be removed to a depth of 75mm and replaced with soil and grass seed.
‘Soil samples have been sent for analysis to determine the product used to kill the grass and ensure no further decontamination works would be required.’
The team is now back at the ground.