VANDALS have sabotaged padlocks at Lochend Youth Football Club causing £500 of damage and sparking fears among coaching staff that they may fall victim to repeat attacks.
The security locks at the club’s pitches in east Edinburgh were found filled with glue in a bizarre act of vandalism that comes six months after another training pitch used by the club was broken into.
Players and coaches were locked out of the venue before calling in a plumber who used a blow torch to break through in a seven-hour ordeal.
And management at the football club now said they feared a third act of vandalism could be imminent.
Chairwoman Ali Abernethy said: “We are worried that there’s going to be a repeat attack.
“Having had two acts of vandalism over a short period of time, the concern is that there will be another one.
“There’s an ongoing worry now that something else will happen to the facility.
“The older kids at the club play down at Seafield and that was broken into in March.
“We have four-metre high fencing at the club and it’s quite hard to climb.
“Given the time [the vandals] would have taken and the meticulous [way] they have glued the locks, this looks like something that’s been planned.”
Ms Abernethy said coaches were baffled as to why anyone would target the club, which has around 150 members and caters for players aged six to 19.
The cost of the damage would be paid for with funds taken from players’ fees.
She said: “I honestly do not know why someone would want to do something like this.
“It’s a fantastic facility we have there – maybe it’s someone who’s jealous of the club.
“The sense of identity we have tried to create at the club is very much a community feel.
“Our coaches and the coaches at the other clubs do some of their training together, so all the kids train together as well.
“Our philosophy at the club is to create a sense of unity between clubs.
“We always make sure our kids shake hands with the other kids at matches.”
Officers at Lothian and Borders Police have appealed for anyone with information to come forward. Constable Jacqueline Whale said of the attack: “This has caused around £500 worth of damage, and has had an impact on the use of the facilities ever since.
“We would appeal for anyone who may have been in the area on the night of the 30th and who may have noticed someone acting suspiciously to contact us on 0131 311 3131.”