Football club’s £20,000 tractor is stolen

THIEVES have left members of a football club heartbroken after stealing their £20,000 tractor.

Kiveton Park Football Club’s tractor — used to maintain eight pitches, including at nearby Wales High School — was taken on Monday night.

Club secretary and groundsman Gordon Johnson said it was a “downer” and he was “distraught” when he realised what had happened.

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“It’s the lowest of the lowest to pinch off a charity,” he said.

Mr Johnson added: “We had a proper lock on the container but it was wide open and there was no tractor inside.

“I was distraught. I couldn't believe it. It only came out on Saturday.

“It was two or three years old and we got it from the Football Foundation, who helped us fund it.

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“We’ve got another machine but it takes six hours a pitch, and we’ve got eight pitches. That’s a lot of volunteering.

“It is heartbreaking. We maintain for the school (Wales High School) as well. “Luckily, we are insured. There’s a CCTV at the school and some in the village as well, but I’d be very surprised if we saw it (the tractor) again.”

Mr Johnson said getting a new tractor had turned out to be a difficult task — the price has gone up and the waiting list is huge.

He said: “There’s a year-long waiting list.

“It (the tractor) was worth £20,000 and probably would’ve lasted for 20 years.

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People are going to have to play on pitches with longer grass.

“It’s just sad for the kids. It’s a real downer. We are heartbroken.

“Someone is deliberately attacking grassroots football clubs.”

Mr Johnson added the club had used very expensive, “essentially unbreakable” locks so the thieves had cut through the steel instead.

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He added: “They didn’t cut through the lock, they cut through the steel on the lock-up. It’s just a mess.

“Even expensive locks are not going to keep them out.

“It’s worrying me because we normally train the whole week but it was cancelled on Monday evening — they must have been watching it and took the opportunity.”