YORK cricketers have been left on a sticky wicket due to horses invading their pitch.

Hopgrove Playing Fields, in Malton Road, are in danger of being seriously damaged by stray horses regularly getting on to the pitches, churning up the ground and leaving piles of manure, it has been claimed.

Richard Kerrison, chairman of Stockton and Hopgrove Cricket Club, said he feared the playing fields would become unusable if nothing was done to address the problem.

He said: “We need somebody to stop them getting in. We keep putting the fences up but they all get broken down. There’s about 12 to 15 horses in the field at the same time. With it being so wet they are making that much of a mess.

“We have rung the council and the police and they seem to say there’s nothing we can do. It’s ruining peoples’ enjoyment.

“A lot of work will need to be done to clear up the mess.”

Mr Kerrison said rope around the cricket square had been removed on numerous occasions.

A police spokesman said they were aware of the problem and would be addressing it along with City of York Council, the RSPCA, the British Horse Society, the National Farmers Union, landowners and a number of horse charities.

He said: “A significant amount of work has been carried out in order to resolve the issues permanently and these proposals will be discussed by the City of York Council later this month.

“We have advised the sports club of our current position and the work in progress to solve the issues.”

City of York Council confirmed it was working to tackle problems associated with horses on land without the landowner’s permission.

Steve Waddington, assistant head of housing and community safety, said: “York is not alone in this problem and similar situations have also been found across the country, particularly in West and South Yorkshire areas, the West Midlands and County Durham.

“The aim of the policy will be to substantially reduce the number of horses on land without the owner’s permission and will set out responsibilities for all parties.”