Radcliffe Borough bosses urge public to grass on lawn thieves March 12 2015

HEARTBROKEN football officials are urging the community to grass on thieves who stole their artificial lawn.

Two pieces of fake turf were stolen from the community beer garden overlooking the artificial pitches at Radcliffe Borough Football Club’s Stainton Park ground in Pilkington Road.

Thieves ripped up the first piece of turf on February 28 and returned for a second on March 5 – meaning half of the lawn, a 12m by 4m patch, is now missing.

The garden, which Radcliffe Borough staff furnished with tables, chairs and benches for barbecues and community events, has been in place five months and is worth £4,000

Club staff spent nearly two years planning the project, painting the building and arranging sponsorship to fund it, and said they are devastated by the theft.

Pete Lofthouse, football in the community officer, said: “We worked really hard to network and organise sponsors to pay for the lawn.

“It was the community who did it, and it was something for the community to enjoy in the spring and summer time.

“We had lots of different events planned, and now it has all been taken away from us.”

It is believed the thieves ripped up the turf, which was nailed down, after climbing over the sports complex’s fencing.

Radcliffe Borough are offering a £150 reward for the return of the lawn and information which will lead to a prosecution.

Fundraisers are now desperate to raise enough cash to replace the lawn, and a meeting will take place at the Legends Bar at Stainton Park on Monday (7pm).

Mr Lofthouse said: “We think it is in someone’s back garden, or they have sold it on.”

A statement issued on Twitter on behalf of Radcliffe Borough said: “To say we are devastated is an understatement.

“Materials to build the community beer garden were donated by local businesses and paid for by the football club, and for someone to break in and steal those materials is heartbreaking.”

Security at the club has now been stepped up, with the installation of new CCTV cameras.

Ben Cottam, police inspector for Bury South, said: “We have had one report of theft from Radcliffe Borough Football Club, which has no ongoing lines of inquiry.

“An officer will visit the club to try to find out more and see if there is anything else we can do to help.