Footballers in danger of serious injury

BYOUNG footballers are in danger of serious accidents unless action is taken against louts who have littered a sports ground with half-buried broken glass.

BYOUNG footballers are in danger of serious accidents unless action is taken against louts who have littered a sports ground with half-buried broken glass.

Gene Yates, manager of Woodlands Colts under-12s, in Sudbury, has led calls for something to be done to curb the problems on a school football pitch in the town.

Mr Yates said he found 35 broken bottles during the summer holidays but revealed how the problem has since become a weekly occurrence.

He is now forced to arrive at the pitch, at Sudbury Upper School, more than two hours before the youngsters play, to painstakingly inspect the turf for broken glass.


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But he praised the response of the school and police, who had carried out more patrols in a bid to catch drunken youngsters who leave their dangerous rubbish behind.

Mr Yates said: “In my opinion it is irrelevant why these youngsters are leaving broken bottles sticking out of the pitch.

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It doesn't matter if they are deliberately setting out to hurt someone or just throwing away the bottles - someone, whether it is an adult, a youngster or even a toddler, will get seriously hurt sooner or later. We shouldn't be in this situation and something needs to be done now as parents are horrified over the state of the pitch.”

Mr Yates, who pays £25 per week for his team to play and train on the pitch, has now had to move his young side to one of the school's larger pitches.

He said: “Some think it was just a problem in the school holidays and it is true that I picked up about 35 broken bottles during that time.

But I have been picking up broken glass for months now.

“Every time the kids play at home, I have to get to the ground hours before everyone else just to make sure there are no big lumps of glass sticking out. Even last Sunday, there was glass in the goalmouth.” Headteacher David Forrest said: “It is a continuous problem for us which gets much worse over the school holidays. It's another example of a small number of people ruining things for a much larger group. Unfortunately, it's a part of society today and we try to keep on top of it as best we can. “We do work very closely with the sports centre and community wardens, but it is a battle and a real problem.”

A police spokesman confirmed that patrols had been stepped up and officers had monitored the area using a CCTV car.

A mobile police station is scheduled to visit to help get the message about anti-social behaviour across to youngsters.

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