RESIDENTS say they are 'deeply concerned' after school playing fields were damaged by vandals.

Tyre tracks were found scored across fields at Rivington and Blackrod High School, which is also the home of Horwich RMI football club.

It is believed that the deep tyre marks might have been caused by a quad bike or 4x4 and may put the pitches ‘out of action’, with fears it could cost thousands to repair.

Football club secretary and town councillor Stewart Burke said: “The damage was noticed by myself whilst out for a walk.

“Whether it was a quad or a car, the outcome has been quite extensive damage to the school’s property. They are also pitches that we use on Saturdays for our grassroots teams and we are deeply concerned about the damage caused.”

This is not the first time the pitches have been damaged, says the secretary.

Back in March 2018 horses trampled on the football pitch, leaving around 200 holes and angering club coaches.

Mr Burke added: "Not long since, the same pitches were damaged by a whole raft of horse hoof holes, which thankfully hasn’t happened since.

“This latest violation is extremely concerning.

"“With it being the school holidays, we have yet to be able to have a conversation [with the people at the school] about it."

Horwich town councillor David Grant said the repairs could cost ‘thousands’ to fix.

He said: “It is unfortunate that this happens every year. The reports I got were that these were teenagers trying out their new quadbikes.

“It is simply wrong. These machines should not be allowed to be purchased without a special license to show you are competent and sensible.

“They should only be used for recreation on specific purpose built sites.

“Their thoughtless actions will now cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds to fix and possibly put the pitches out of action for the young players.”

Not only will the community have to shell out money in repairs, there is nothing to stop the problem from happening again, says the town councillor.

Cllr Grant said: “There is not much a community can do except report it to the police who we know are overstretched as it is.

"These bikes are a nuisance. It requires regulation from government to ensure the sale and resale of the quads do not go to irresponsible drivers.”