Whitebank hit again

Date published: Thursday, December 8, 2011

THE Whitebank Stadium home of Oldham Rugby League Club has been attacked by vandals for the sixth time in less than a year.

Youths broke into the ground at Limehurst Village on Tuesday night and set fire to a portable toilet, causing damage estimated at £1,000.

Fire fighters were called to put out the blaze and to prevent it spreading to nearby outbuildings. Police are investigating.

Said club chairman Chris Hamilton: “The ground has suffered four break-ins and two fires since we moved there in May, 2010.

“We went a long time incident-free, but we have since had several attacks in the last ten or 11 months and every time they occur they are increasingly frustrating and disheartening.

“The clubs puts a lot of time, work and money into the upkeep and maintenance of the stadium, which we are planning to develop and upgrade so that it will meet the requirements of the Rugby Football League’s minimum standards for teams in the Co-operative Championship.”

Oldham currently play in the next division down, Championship One, but in the coming season they will be bidding to be one of the four teams out of ten to win promotion to the sport’s second tier.

To meet standards capacity must be increased from 1,502 to 3,000, floodlights have to be improved and more seats, to a minimum of 500, have to be installed.

Mr Hamilton added: “In this latest incident people living nearby saw smoke rising from inside the ground at about 8.30pm on Tuesday, and then saw youths running from the scene.

“They raised the alarm.”

He is appealing to anyone who saw what happened or who has relevant information to contact Oldham Police or to ring Oldham RL Club on 0161 628 3677.