A DEVASTATING fire which ripped through the pavilion of a social club at the heart of the community was an act of arson.
The blaze at Whitby Sports and Social Club on Friday has left the organisers of a number of sports teams heartbroken after they lost equipment stored in the building.
Firefighters were called just before 12.30pm and fought for several hours to bring the inferno under control.
The heat generated from the fire made one of the four five-a-side pitch surfaces unplayable, as well as damaging the fencing and floodlighting.
The cost of repairs to the pitch is estimated at £20,000-£30,000.
Mark Hill is on the committee for Ellesmere Port Football Club, which kept two sets of goals in the building, and claims youngsters wreak havoc in and around the pavilion every weekend.
He said: “The kids seem to get away with murder.
“We’ve got two portable dugouts and the kids sleep in them. They’re just a nuisance and now hopefully something will be done about it.
“The club seems to be thriving, it’s a true community club and then they do this.
“Sometimes the ground is caked in glass. Every Saturday we have to clear it up.”
Police have launched an investigation and want to track down four youths seen acting suspiciously near the scene.