PLAYING fields have been torn up by quadbikes, motorbikes and cars - days before they were due to welcome back young sportspeople.

Pictures taken by a town councillor and dog walker at Green Lane playing fields, in Green Lane and Ormston Avenue, Horwich, showed the extent of the damage, with significant chunks taken out of the ground.

This has been branded “selfish” as preparations were being made to get the fields ready for the return of children’s sports, with the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

But the kind work of a groundsman to help repair the ground straight away has been commended.

Town councillor Stewart Burke said: “When taking the dog for a walk after work I could see there was quad bike damage over both top and bottom fields.

“Quads, motorbikes and horses have all caused damage. Recently a car was even spotted doing doughnuts last year on the fields.

“Remedial work has already started this morning by Brett Smith, one of the fabulous groundsmen from Rivington and Blackrod High School. The selfishness of the person that caused the problem is staggering.”

A Horwich and Blackrod First Independents (HBFI), spokesman added: “HBFI also mirror Cllr. Stewart Burke’s sentiments that this is reckless destruction of a sports field.

"What really saddens us is it has happened just as children’s football is about to be permitted again.

"Covid restrictions have been particularly difficult on children who don’t always know why things are happening the way they are but their free spirit and instinct to run and play has been severely restricted.

“Opening up once more our few remaining sporting fields should have been a cause of celebration for these children and their families, but instead we will be looking to try and put this selfish and reckless damage right.”

Town councillors are also looking to push ahead with plans to erect fencing around the playing fields.

The spokesman added: “With restrictions lifting we should now be able to continue with our plans through Horwich Town Council to erect fencing at Green Lane playing fields which should alleviate this from happening.

"But in the meantime we would request that residents contact police if they see anyone committing this type of criminal damage."