A JUNIOR football club has been left disheartened after a digger they borrowed to improve facilities was vandalised.

Coaches, players, parents and local volunteers came together at Eccleshill United Football Club over the weekend to cure a long-standing problem.

The club car park was littered with deep, troublesome potholes, as was the road leading to the junior pitches.

Gareth Williams, a coach with the juniors, organised for the holes to be filled in.

The groundsman began on his own last Friday, but realised more help was needed.

Eight football dads "mucked in", alongside others, on Saturday to get the job done - with Mr Williams putting the finishing touches on, on Sunday.

He said: "In a nutshell, I'd organised for locals to come together on Saturday to help fix the potholes that blighted the car park for years.

"I had dads from the junior team, coaches, kids from the club and locals all helping from 6.30am 'til around 3pm on Saturday.

"It was a good day."

Building company, Extend Rite Ltd, which is based just 100 yards from the clubhouse itself, even donated a mini digger and dumper truck to help the cause.

But, when the firm came to pick up their machines from Mr Williams and the club on Wednesday morning, the back window of the digger had been smashed through.

This was despite both machines being locked up behind one of junior pitches, which is well out of sight, says Mr Williams.

He added: "It's gutting to me, annoying to Extend Rite Ltd, and a kick in the teeth for anyone that's been helping with the fix-up work.

"In the past 18 months I've done a lot of work to set-up new junior teams at Eccleshill United and also to update the junior training facilities.

"As a volunteer, I spend a lot of time and effort to ensure local kids have the best opportunity to play the game they love.

"I'm so passionate about doing things well and to a good standard for the children in the area wanting to play football in a great environment.

"It's sad that some mindless person or people have done this random vandalism."

The whole situation has left the coach and others dismayed, having pumped countless hours into the club, in particularly the juniors, to provide much needed support for grassroots football.

This includes plenty of fundraisers.

Mr Williams said: "For the team, it's an ongoing thing because grassroots football doesn't get a lot of attention.

"Things like bag packs, football cards, raffles which pays for new equipment, kits, winter jackets.

"Recently I've managed to bring in more players to the club from the surrounding areas and set up more junior teams at Eccleshill.

"We've gone from one U9s team to three - so a lot more kids and parents are getting involved and supporting the club than ever before."

All that progress could be halted though thanks to the vandalism.

Extend Rite Ltd paid £290 to get the window fixed, and Mr Williams says while the firm hasn't come chasing for money, a bill like that would wipe out the club's fundraising efforts.

He added: "Potentially any money in the club funds might now have to pay for fixing the JCB when we've got other priorities like the floodlights or buying new equipment for new players.

"It would wipe out the money we need for a tournament in May."

Police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has information that could help.

A spokesperson said the vandalism is reported to have happened between 4pm on Sunday, February 4 and 6am on Wednesday, February 12.

You should contact the Shipley Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101, use the contact options on the West Yorkshire Police website, or report anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers.

You should quote crime reference number: 13200077327.