A CRICKET club in York has hit out at vandals and irresponsible dog owners who have ruined its preparation for the new season.

Members of Ovington Cricket Club, based on Little Knavesmire for almost 80 years, said their pitch had been fouled by dogs whose owners did not clear up the mess, while vandals had stolen bungee cords used to protect the square.

The cords were installed at the recommendation of City of York Council to protect young players by helping the club to prepare a safe wicket.

Alan Fletcher, from the club, said he was disappointed the council were not taking the matter further.

Mr Fletcher said: “The actions of both vandals and dog-walkers have made this winter a complete nightmare in terms of preparations for the upcoming season.

“The protective wire installed to help provide a safe surface for young, aspiring cricketers to play on has been stolen and the police refuse to investigate the matter further because of us not being able to provide CCTV for the centre of a cricket pitch.”

Mr Fletcher said the theft of the bungee cord may seem a trivial matter, but it had been provided at a great expense to the club, and he urged authorities to take more action.

He said: “It isn’t just an issue for the cricket club. It’s a general public health issue for users of Little Knavesmire.

“There are facilities available on the Little Knavesmire to dispose of this waste but we have found numerous examples of the mess being left around the club’s facilities and in areas where the public, especially children, regularly walk.

“The council rent the field to us, and we feel more enforcement of laws against dog fouling should be made use of in these public places.”

Charlie Croft, from the council, said: “There are six prominently-placed dog waste bins on the perimeter of Little Knavesmire as well as reminders that people who do not clean up after their dog or who litter with bags of dog waste can be given on-the-spot fines of up to £75.

“We routinely patrol the area and will fine people we see committing these offences. While we applaud responsible dog walkers, we appeal to those who spoil this space and endanger health to either use the bins provided or dispose of the waste at home.”