A TOWN councillor has called for action to prevent youths vandalising a new 3G pitch in Horwich.

The surface in Old Station Park opened in April after being installed as part of Bolton Council’s £1.5million programme of capital funding for communities.

But pictures posted on social media over the last week show youngsters sitting on goalposts, nets being ripped down, and damage to the turf, believed to be caused by cigarettes.

It comes just two months after reports of the pitch being blighted by litter problems just weeks after having opened.

Now, Cllr Steven Chadwick has called for a solution to prevent the facility going to ‘rack and ruin’. He said: “It is not acceptable. It was only a few weeks ago that I did a litter pick on there because of the state it was in.

“The most common items I found were cigarette butts, lager cans and sweets rubbed into the surface. These are items that should not be on a 3G pitch.

“It is a wonderful facility, but it needs to be looked after and, at the moment, it is not being. If something is not done then it is going to be in a condition where it goes to rack and ruin and no one will want to hire it.

“No one wants to see people lose access, but just leaving it open for people to walk dogs on it and cycle on it is not working.

“Do we restrict it, which is restricting the public park, as well as the people who just want a casual kickabout? There needs to be a compromised solution and maybe it needs a forum to find the way forward.

“It’s increasingly hard to argue against calls for it to be locked unless hired.”

A council spokesman said: “This is unacceptable behaviour and we would urge anyone who witnesses the vandalism to report it to the police by ringing 101.

“We have been working with Bolton Community Leisure Trust, who manage the facility, to put in more security measures in order to deter such incidents. We have ordered a CCTV system which we hope to install as soon as possible, that would assist us in pursuing a prosecution if necessary.”