SICK vandals torched a memorial bench that had been dedicated to a 13-year-old cricketer.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful,” said Colin Whaley, who discovered the charred remains at Eagley Sports Complex.

The vandals are believed to have struck on Friday night as Mr Whaley discovered the damage when he went to the Blackburn Road complex at 9.30 on Saturday in readiness for a boys football match.

He said: “They dragged the memorial cricket bench 100 metres all the way to the back of the changing rooms and set it alight.”

Another large wooden bench had also been dragged from the front of the changing block to the rear and set on fire.

“Fortunately, Mr Whaley, managed to salvage the plaque which commemorated Daniel Delvard, a young cricketer who died at the age of 13.

The bench had been donated by his family and friends.

Mr Whaley, who is head of the football section of the complex said: “It beggars belief what these mindless people have done to the bench.

“Why would anyone do something like this? It’s completely mindless.”

He said the club had informed the PCSO of the incident, and CCTV footage is being checked.

The complex has football, cricket, tennis and archery teams and clubs.

Mr Whaley said: “Unfortunately, it’s not the first time we’ve suffered vandalism.

“A few months ago, our football dugouts were damaged.”

He added: “We are blighted by local youths getting on to the site.

“The majority don’t cause any problems, they just sit around smoking, but the problem is you also get the idiots, like those responsible for torching the benches.

“They should be doing something more constructive, like getting involved in one of the sports clubs we have.”

Anybody with information about the arson attack should contact police on 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.