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Vandalism threatens cricket season

The cricket pavilion at Queen Elizabeth Park.


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The upcoming Wairarapa cricket season is under threat of major disruption if the recent spate of vandalism at Queen Elizabeth Park, Masterton, continues.

For the second time in two weeks, windows were smashed at the ground’s pavilion over the weekend, and the interior trashed.

The incidents follow a worrying trend that has appeared in recent months, after separate incidents involving the cricket wicket being vandalised and the pavilion graffitied.

Wairarapa Cricket president Chris Cogdale has been involved with the organisation for almost 30 years, and has never seen so many incidents in such a short space of time.

“It’s frustrating and it’s difficult leading into the cricket season,” he said.

Two windows at the Queen Elizabeth Park pavilion had to boarded up on Monday morning, and one of the upper windows was also broken. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

“If it’s a trend that’s going to continue, it could cause some sort of hiccups throughout the season.”

Wairarapa Cricket were aware the pavilion needed a “fair amount of work”, but also don’t want it looking a mess for visiting teams.

They had dealt with isolated incidents in the past, but Mr Cogdale said this was a different situation.

“I can’t recall such a concentrated spate of incidents.

“There’s been similar incidents at the deer park, with the deer bring released — it’s just senseless.”

Mr Cogdale said it was about protecting the facilities that were there at the moment, but he wasn’t sure how that could be achieved.

“It’s a damn awkward place to patrol.

“I just think if people can see clear evidence of people hanging around there who look like they might be doing something, they should get in touch with the police.”

Gary Caffell, chairman of the infrastructural services committee of Masterton District Council (MDC), said he was hopeful the cameras in the vicinity may have picked up the culprits.

“They did get the graffiti people the other day so maybe they’ll show something.

“People who want to do this sort of thing get in quickly and they take off — the only satisfaction they seem to get is to have broken a window or two and caused a bit of trouble.”

He said every time something like this happened, things would take a backward step.

“You have to replace and repair things, and the cricket ground and pavilion are an iconic part of Queen Elizabeth Park.

“It’s sad to see them being treated like that.”

Senior Sergeant Mike Sutton said there was decent security in the park, but there were clearly some issues with the grandstand area.

“It’s an area we keep an eye on, particularly as we head into the summer months.

“We use walk-through patrols to try and prevent or detect that sort of behaviour.”

Andrea Jackson, manager of community facilities and activities at MDC, said the incidents were “extremely disappointing”.

“We are working with the police to identify the culprits.

“We urge our residents to be vigilant and to report any anti-social behaviour immediately.”

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