PUBLIC fields across Bolton that host junior football teams are being menaced by off-road bikers — and volunteers that run the clubs are left to pick up the pieces. 

In the last week two clubs have been subject to people riding at high speeds across their football pitches, causing severe damage. 
Moss Bank Junior FC in Smithills and Radcliffe Juniors FC both reported that they had found deep tyre tracks on their fields as a result of motocross bikes last Sunday.

Leigh Town FC also reported damage last weekend.

It is not just a recent issue as Breightmet Wanderers’ Dolan Park was vandalised in September last year and Rivington and Blackrod High School’s fields were damaged in December. 

Bosses at Moss Bank Junior FC tweeted: "Absolute fuming again. Once again we have motorbikes on the pitches and pulling wheelies on public roads."

"We have names of the people who are damaging our pitches and these have been sent to the police.

"We need two make a stance. Yes, some kind of off-road track is needed for motocross but not on our pitches that we have worked tirelessly on so that kids can enjoy sport."

Andrew Burgess, 45, a full-time long distance lorry driver and vice-chairman of Radcliffe Juniors FC, said: “For over 12 months its been just constant.

“We are in the middle of a council estate and we are looking after 250 kids playing football.”

Mr Burgess said it was always the same person who is committing the vandalism, saying that he is “very persistent”. 

"He keeps coming back, driving at least 40/50 miles per hour.”

He also said the perpetrator regularly shouts abuse at coaches and youngsters when confronted. He added: “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hit."

The club chairman, Lee Chapman, a 41 year-old accounts manager, has had to take two days off work to help repair the pitches.

Mr Burgess said volunteers have to deal with incidents themselves, regardless of other commitments.

Mr Burgess believes that this vandalism is a growing problem affecting local football teams.

He said irresponsible dog walkers leaving their pets’ mess on fields is also an issue.

Radcliffe West councillor Mike Smith said: “I will look into this issue and see if there is anything we can do to help.”