Police are investigating the latest break-in at Carrick Rangers’ football ground.
In an incident believed to have taken place between 9.00pm on Saturday and early on Sunday, a bench was damaged after entry was gained to the press box/control room area of the Taylor’s Avenue stadium.
Club chairman, David Hilditch MLA said: “A fire was set and the press box bench was burnt. Thankfully we did not end up with gutted premises.”
As well as smoke damage, he added that a number of seats in the stand were broken and window frames and door frames damaged.
It is the latest in a series of incidents at the home of the football club which recently celebrated success by winning the Steel and Sons Cup on Christmas morning.
The Wednesday before the weekend attack, Mr Hilditch said, new gates at the ground were “kicked in”.
In November of last year, vandals cut their way through two fences before damaging the control panel for newly installed floodlights.
Mr Hilditch added: “Police have been very helpful. They have been very attentive and very professional in what they are doing. It is very difficult to catch those who are out to do a bit of vandalism.” Expressing disappointment that the ground has been targeted again with damage estimated around £1,000, he added there has been a strong reaction on social media with people indicating their support for the club recognising it “does a lot for the community in general and young people in particular”.
Police are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to contact them at Newtownabbey on the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, information can be given via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.