Vandals have jeopardised a Fife football club’s SFA licence.
Kelty Hearts’ artificial pitch has been burned, seats have been vandalised days after being installed, and youngsters have been seen on the roof of the club’s new stand.
The damage to the community facilities could see the club, which turned senior last year, lose its SFA licence because of regular pitch testing.
Police are now patrolling the area around New Central Park in a bid to stamp out the problem.
Meanwhile, the club is going to be footing the bill for CCTV, something it says it can ill afford.
Treasurer George McTrusty said the spate of vandalism had been wrecking improvements almost as soon as they were completed.
“We’re building a new stadium and they are trying to destroy the seats as they are getting installed, and they’ve been burning the pitch.”
The park with a 3G pitch, a community asset that is open to the paying public, is witnessing trespassing and vandalism on almost a daily basis.
This week has seen burn marks left across the main and children’s pitches.
Council community use team manager for Cowdenbeath Sarah Roxburgh said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that this enjoyment is being spoiled by a thoughtless minority who are determined to cause costly damage.
“We will be working with the club and police to help tackle this issue and make sure the park is a safe place for all to enjoy.”
Fife Council has invested £665,000 in the park for the whole community.
Local councillor Alex Campbell expressed his disgust at the behaviour of a minority of youths.
He said the club serves the community, from five-year-olds to 75s, and it was sad that so many local people worked really hard to deliver facilities for the community and “these vandals come along and destroy such a fantastic project”.
He added: “It is totally and utterly unacceptable that some youths are causing this mayhem.”
Police Scotland inspector Gavin Cameron said: “The abuse of these facilities is hugely disappointing for the community, and we are working closely with Kelty Hearts FC to tackle this issue.
“We are carrying out patrols in this area and I would urge people to please report any anti-social behaviour or damage being caused while it is happening so we can respond quickly and appropriately.
“We want local children and young people to enjoy their summer holidays and to make use of facilities like this sensibly and responsibly.
“Parents and guardians have a vital role to play by ensuring they know where their children are, and reminding them that such behaviour as we have seen here is not acceptable.”