THE future of a men’s football team on the outskirts of York is under serious threat after it was targeted by thieves and vandals recently.

Poppleton United FC’s tractor, worth about £10,000 and used for cutting grass, was stolen from a container by the side of the field where it plays its home games at The Poppleton Centre, between Upper and Nether Poppleton.

This happened on August 29 at about 9.35pm.

Between 8pm on Saturday and 9am on Sunday, vandals “destroyed” the club’s new dugout, which cost hundreds of pounds in materials, plus time from volunteers to build, the club’s secretary Rob Forrester said. Its old dugout had to be knocked down last year after it was damaged by vandals.

Also between Saturday night and Sunday morning, vandals are believed to have ridden motorcycles over the field itself, leaving ruts behind. In addition, the club’s pitch marker was thrown into a hedge.

Mr Forrester says the dugout now needs to be replaced and the club has to buy a new tractor.

He explained: “We’ve gone from being in an okay position to being financially on our knees. This could cripple the club. There is a chance the club could go under because of this.

“As a club, these events are soul destroying and very upsetting. We are a family orientated, volunteer based club. The committee and the players have worked tirelessly to create a culture of belonging and a sense of community. The community centre is there for everyone to enjoy.

“We’re still paying the tractor off. We’re two payments short. We now need to raise money for a new one while paying off the stolen one.”

Mr Forrester claims the tractor theft was captured on CCTV, which he says shows a white van pulling into The Poppleton Centre and two men getting out. The men then cut open the container and load the tractor onto the van before driving away, he added.

The club has suffered other vandalism attacks in recent months, Mr Forrester said. In the past month, metal fencing surrounding the club’s pitch has been damaged, with parts of it pulled out and thrown onto the adjacent field, while other parts are still missing.

In a bid to raise much-needed funds, the club has set up a JustGiving page -

The club, which is more than 100-years-old, is also organising a Halloween Ball, which will take place at The Poppleton Centre on October 28.

North Yorkshire Police said inquiries are ongoing into both the tractor theft and vandalism at the weekend. Phone 101, quote reference number 12170163539.