A SERIES of recent fires at a football pitch has forced a club to start looking for a new place to play.

Coaches at Bromley Cross Football Club have decided to find a new home after several incidents of tyres and rubbish being set alight at its pitch off Crompton Way.

Since just before Christmas, there have been a total of eight fires, three of which happened over the weekend.

The incidents have left scorch marks across the pitch and has prevented youngsters from using it on several occasions.

Paul Barton is manager of Bromley Cross Scorpions under-13s and said the club was now looking for alternative premises.

He said: "The pitch is absolutely ruined and we are having to look for a new place.

"We can not carry on like this and it is in a right state. It is absolutely ridiculous."

The incidents were first reported a few weeks ago at the beginning of June when Mr Barton said there had been four fires since just before Christmas.

But since then there have been another four with one on the weekend of June 9 and three last weekend.

He said he believes youngsters have been dragging fly-tipped rubbish on to the pitch, including tyres, and are igniting them.

Mr Barton said: "It is just crazy and really disappointing. I just feel sorry for the children. We take a lot of pride in the pitch and we got in really good shape just for this to happen."

Bromley Cross Football Club has two teams, under-13s and under-14s, and Bromley Cross Warriors has one team that plays at the ground.

Footage of the blaze on Thursday, May 31 was posted on Instagram, which is how the club learned of the fire.

Teams were able to play the last game of the season despite the damage.

Mr Barton added: "We are absolutely gutted.

"At the beginning of the season we got the pitch in great condition. It was meant to play on regularly and now it just has brown marks all over it.

"It is just so frustrating and it is just mindless. It's young children doing it."

The pitch is used by the teams on Wednesdays for training and Saturday's for matches.

The team is now appealing to Bolton Council to help with its relocation.

Mr Barton said the incidents have all bene reported to Greater Manchester Police.

Anybody who has any information on what happened should call officers on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.