Heartbreak as cricket club targeted by vandals for ninth time

Haywards Heath Cricket Club was vandalised for the ninth time in 18 months. Photo contributed by Matt Jones.

Haywards Heath Cricket Club was vandalised for the ninth time in 18 months. Photo contributed by Matt Jones.

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The chairman of a cricket club has spoken of his heartbreak after a clubhouse was broken into for the ninth time in 18 months.

Vandals smashed their way into the clubhouse at Haywards Heath Cricket Club overnight on Wednesday April 5, breaking a window before trashing the inside and damaging walls.

Matt Jones, club chairman, was outraged when he discovered the damage.

He said: “They decided to smash everything and threw darts into the wall.

“It’s heartbreaking with the amount of time I have spent down there.”

The incident was the third in the space of a week.

Matt said when he arrived at the clubhouse the following Monday he noticed another window had been boarded up.

Another break-in was reported a few days later.

“We have had nine problems now in the last 18 months,” Matt said.

“If this had happened once or twice over the last few months we might put it down to bad luck. For it to be repeatedly happening over a short period of time there clearly is an issue.

“It’s frustrating. We are all volunteers, no-one is paid to do anything at this cricket club and we put a lot of time in for our own pleasure.”

He added the damage cost over the past 18 months had totalled more than £1,000.

The building is owned by Mid Sussex District Council and is more than 100 years old.

Matt said he was frustrated with the council’s response to the issue and called for more to be done.

Ben Toogood, Mid Sussex District Council Emergency and Outdoor Services Manager, said: “We were disappointed to hear of the break-in at Clair Park Pavilion. As soon as the incident was reported to us, the council responded quickly to secure the building and carry out the necessary repairs.

“In addition to this, we are investigating additional security measures which will hopefully prevent further break-ins at the pavilion. We will also be working closely with our local partners to increase patrols in the area.

“We are in regular contact with Haywards Heath Cricket Club regarding the pavilion and their use of it. We will ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities in relation to the security of the building.”

Police are investigating. Anyone with information can contact 101 quoting 189 of 06/04.

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