CCTV to be installed at youth football club plagued by vandalism

Dereham Town Council has agreed to install CCTV at Dereham Saints FC in Toftwood. Picture: Archant

Dereham Town Council has agreed to install CCTV at Dereham Saints FC in Toftwood. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A youth football club at risk of having to move due to persistent vandalism is to install a CCTV system to deter thieves.

Jack and Sue Cassidy founded Dereham Saints in April 2017. Picture: Archant

Jack and Sue Cassidy founded Dereham Saints in April 2017. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Dereham Saints, based at Toftwood Recreation Ground, has been hit repeatedly by incidents of criminal damage since the club was created in April 2017.

In October, club co-founders Jack and Sue Cassidy revealed part of a metal fence surrounding the clubhouse had been cut down, prompting fears that thieves were trying to raid the clubhouse within its perimeter.

He also spoke of finding sharpened sticks and broken glass on the pitches, posing a danger to the club's young players.

The problem became so bad that Mr Cassidy was contemplating moving the club completely, to Bullock Park in Shipdham.

Part of the metal fence surrounding the Dereham Saints clubhouse was previously cut down. Picture: D

Part of the metal fence surrounding the Dereham Saints clubhouse was previously cut down. Picture: DSFC - Credit: Archant

But now Dereham Town Council (DTC) - which has already paid £6,000 for the metal fence - has agreed to fund CCTV at the clubhouse in an attempt to warn off potential thieves and vandals.

"This is a huge boost for us," said Mr Cassidy. "We've had broken bottles on the pitch, bricks thrown at the clubhouse - just mindless damage for no good reason.

"The town council, especially Tony Needham, have been absolutely fantastic. They were the ones saying how badly we needed CCTV, so really this is all their doing.

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"I was thinking of moving the club to Shipdham due to what was happening - I was that annoyed and worried about it. That would've made it further for the kids to travel, but they never have problems with vandalism at Bullock Park.

Dereham Saints FC's under-16s team. Picture: DSFC

Dereham Saints FC's under-16s team. Picture: DSFC - Credit: Archant

"Now this CCTV will hopefully keep whoever's responsible away from our pitches and the clubhouse."

With DTC having decided at its recent meeting to curb the nuisance with cameras, installing the CCTV system on the Dereham Saints clubhouse is set to cost almost £1,200.

The building, which was recently renovated and redecorated, will also be alarmed at a cost of around £620.

Tony Needham, clerk at DTC, added: "Dereham Saints, as a club, is such a vibrant community facility with a massive following, but the clubhouse has always been a bit of a target for vandals.

Dereham Saints are based at Toftwood Recreation Ground. Picture: Archant

Dereham Saints are based at Toftwood Recreation Ground. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

"It's a real shame that the club has been suffering so, for the relatively small cost of installing CCTV, it seems a sensible thing to do."

Dereham Town Council has agreed to install CCTV at Dereham Saints FC in Toftwood. Picture: Archant

Dereham Town Council has agreed to install CCTV at Dereham Saints FC in Toftwood. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

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