‘SELFISH’ vandals who are using fence posts as cricket wickets are putting sport at risk.

Council bosses have slammed the ‘disrespectful’ behaviour of people playing cricket in the evenings at Pleasington playing fields in Blackburn.

Improvement works were recently carried out by teams from Blackburn with Darwen Council, including reseeding the grass, to make the land more suitable for both football and cricket.

But people have been reported going to the area every night, without booking or paying, and vandalising fencing to play games of cricket.

Council chiefs said it was damaging the land as the grass seeds needed more time to set but were being disturbed and kicked up.

It could leave teams unable to play on the land as fences placed around the new pitch have been removed and used as wickets to play games of cricket.

Football and cricket teams across Blackburn and Darwen play on pitches at Pleasington, both during the week and at the weekend.

Sayyed Osman, director of environment, housing and neighbourhoods at Blackburn with DArwen Council, said: “This sort of selfish behaviour is jeopardising the work our teams are doing to improve the football and cricket pitches at Pleasington.

“It is disrespectful to the both the local teams who enjoy playing there and the council teams who work to make this possible.

“We are committed to providing our communities the best facilities possible and I would appeal for a bit of common sense.”

Bill Maynard, Blackburn Sunday Football League fixtures secretary, said it had been an ongoing problem for years.

He said: “There is little point in us as local leagues in the town encouraging our teams not to go on there training when people are going on willy nilly.

“This is not something that has suddenly happened. This has been going on for years and years now.

“I have spoken to groundsman in the past and he said they have just given up because if they say anything they just get a load of verbal abuse.”