Arson attack causes devastation at Upton Juniors Football Club

Robert Stables & Lee Pickin with some of the junior footballers and their burnt-out cabin
Robert Stables & Lee Pickin with some of the junior footballers and their burnt-out cabin

Arsonists have caused heartache for hundreds of children after setting fire to their football club causing £20,000 worth of damage.

The firebugs set alight a wheelie bin that had been moved next to Upton Juniors Football Club’s kitchen area at about 1am on Sunday.

Flames spread into the metal unit and completely destroyed all of its contents, which included an estimated £6,000 worth of equipment including fridges, freezers, tea urns and a cooker.

It took South Elmsall firefighters about two hours to put out the flames.

The club used the kitchen to raise cash for the teams – which range from under 5s up to under 16s –by selling food and drinks on game days.

Club chairman Lee Pickin said: “It’s just totally gutting. We have not just lost the facility to provide the food and drinks, but have lost our major source of income to fund the club. And it’s not only that, it has caused upset and heartache for the hundreds of children who use it. I just can’t believe it’s happened.”

There had been a small fire on the field just 24 hours earlier and Mr Pickin had been at the scene with Inspector Geoff Carter from the South East neighbourhood police team to plan ways to reduce anti social behaviour.

This was the first time there had been problems surrounding the £14,000 cabin in the eight years since it had been there.

The facility was also used by other clubs and at events, including Ackworth All Stars, who were set to use it next month for a summer fair.

Insp Carter said: “I was disgusted by the damage caused during this incident.

“The effects on the teams that use these facilities will be devastating and I will ensure to leave no stone unturned during this enquiry. I know the strong sense of community pride in Upton will mean we will be helped in our quest for information.”

The club is appealing for help to pay or re-build the facility. Mr Pickin said: “We just need all the help we can get to put this right again.” Anyone with information should contact police on 101.