Reckless vandals who have been tearing up a Fife football pitch by using it as a race track are placing young lives at risk and could force a local club to relocate altogether.
The stark message has been delivered by volunteers with Real Fife FC, which has been resident at East Wemyss’ McDuff Park since 2012, after their surface was ripped up again over the weekend.
Five teams had been playing on McDuff Park at the beginning of last year but the club had to move four of them to other facilities in Kirkcaldy to ensure the availability of a pitch each week.
With the mindless quad bike and mini-moto users continuing to abuse the area, even at times when the youngsters have been playing on the grass, club volunteers are considering moving away from the village permanently.
Wayne Carroll, Real Fife FC club secretary and the club’s child welfare and protection officer, said the actions of a minority were causing problems for scores of young people and their families.
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He said: “Real Fife FC are currently paying out £15,000 each year to the local authorities for training facilities and pitch hires, which is definitely not an insignificant amount of money for a non-profit grassroots football club.
“We currently have approximately 220 boys and girls at the club, with around 40 non-paid volunteers trying to ensure we can provide our local kids with an opportunity to play football, develop their interpersonal skills and have safe fun.
“We are in current talks with the local authorities trying to secure facilities large enough to house all of our kids but as you can imagine, there are limited options for us.
“We don’t want to pull out of the park at East Wemyss as it’s an important part of the club’s history but there is only so much a club like us can take.”
Real Fife FC’s forced move to alternative pitches in Kirkcaldy is having a knock-on effect in the Lang Toun due to the limited number of pitches available there.
“The kids and youths doing this damage are from the surrounding area,” Mr Carroll added.
“It’s hard to believe the community don’t know who is doing this regular damage, and we would ask that they come forward and help us.
“We have had, at times, the youths driving the motorised vehicles around the pitch during actual games and, as the club’s child welfare and protection officer, this gives me great concern for the safety of our kids.”
The news is the latest instance of illegal bikers blighting neighbourhoods in the Levenmouth and Wemyss village areas, with local councillors receiving regular complaints about unlicensed bikers.
Police Scotland has a dedicated action plan, called Operation Reflector, to address the anti-social issues, and anyone who witnesses such activity involving motorcycles should contact 101 or report it anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.