Football club's fury at attacks

A COMMUNITY football club which has suffered four attacks in a week is deliberately being targeted by vandals, its chairman has claimed.Lee Harding, chairman of Braintree Town Football Club, said damage to the clubhouse, coach and signage at its Cressing Road ground would cost thousands of pounds to repair.

A COMMUNITY football club which has suffered four attacks in a week is deliberately being targeted by vandals, its chairman has claimed.

Lee Harding, chairman of Braintree Town Football Club, said damage to the clubhouse, coach and signage at its Cressing Road ground would cost thousands of pounds to repair.

And he said the club could have to fork out extra cash to improve security at the premises in order to prevent further incidents.

The apparent vendetta against Braintree Town FC began a week yesterday when burglars struck during the evening.


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The raiders smashed their way through three external security doors before causing a large amount of damage to the club's lounge bar.

Three days later, vandals slashed all four tyres on the team's mini-coach. The next day, when the vehicle was on axle stands, they struck again.

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The coach was pushed off the stands damaging its steering, axles and suspension.

Finally, at lunchtime on Thursday, highly offensive graffiti was sprayed on a large sign for club sponsors Westdrive Kia situated at the ground's entrance.

Yesterday Mr Harding said he could not understand why the attacks had happened.

"We are a community club, with junior teams and a women's team, and we try to be as inclusive as we can.

"But with four separate incidents in the space of a week we feel we are being targeted.

"There's an element of it being a social problem, and I don't think it's the greatest coincidence that it's the school holidays, but the damage is quite extensive."

Mr Harding said the attacks, coming as the semi-professional club was gearing up for the new season, had affected morale.

The first team, which plays in the Ryman Premier League, performed well last season, reaching the play-offs and attracting average gates of around 400 spectators.

"The final straw was the graffiti sprayed all over the club house. It shows the mindless element of it all," said Mr Harding.

"We were going in the right direction but sorting this damage and vandalism out is going to be expensive.

"We are now putting in new security measures with full-time staff. We haven't got CCTV at the moment but it is something we are going to have to look into.

"The whole thing is going to cost us thousands."

Last night a spokesman for Essex Police confirmed that the matter was being looked into.

"We are aware of the situation and there is an active investigation going on," he said.

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