'Mindless' vandals target Worksop Rugby Club after travellers set up illegal encampment on its grounds

A rugby club in Worksop has been targeted by vandals after dozens of caravans set up an illegal encampment on its land.

Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 5:06 pm

Travellers broke a lock on the gate at Worksop Rugby Club, in Stubbing Lane and entered the private grounds on Monday, May 9.

Members of the rugby club committee attended the premises the following day to find many of the windows completely shattered, and the club’s mobile food van broken into – all captured on CCTV.

Several members of the public have also accused unattended children of intimidating behaviour.

The window has been completely shattered.

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Melanie Poxon, safeguarding director at Worksop RUFC, said the incident is ‘hugely frustrating’, especially after the pandemic where they were forced to set up a funding campaign to stop the club from closing down.

Melanie said: “We’re just starting to rebuild the rugby club again, and then this happens.

"It's just so frustrating because we don't get any help from anywhere – we fund everything ourselves.

The rugby club's mobile food van was also broken into.

"We've been in town for a long, long time, and we want to keep the club going, and these acts of mindless criminal damage is just not needed."

The costs for repairs are not yet known, however the club has had many members of the public and neighbouring rugby clubs come forward to offer support.

Melanie added: “People have been really kind. We've had people contact us saying they will come and replace the glass and won’t charge for fitting. Some have offered to help clear the field up if we need it.”

The vandalism comes almost a year after travellers illegally encamped on Farr Park in Worksop and left six-and-a-half-tonnes of rubbish behind - costing Bassetlaw District Council £4,000 to clean up.

However, the council can only take action on council-owned land meaning they cannot assist in the removal of travellers on private grounds.

A new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will see police given greater powers to tackle such encampments, including the right to seize vehicles and impose heavy fines on those trespassing "with intent to reside".

Inspector Hayley Crawford, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Officers were called to Stubbing Lane, Worksop, at around 1pm on Monday, following reports of vandalism.”

Anyone with information should contact police 101 quoting incident 327 of May 9 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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