The Puhoi Sports and Community Club will be thousands of dollars out of pocket through lost revenue, following the antics of four youths who went for a joyride over the domain on Sunday evening, June 12.
Driving a 4WD, they ripped up the sports field doing burnouts, to the extent that it is now unusable.
Police say two 19-year-olds are being summonsed to court for wilful damage. If convicted, they could face three months in prison or a maximum fine of $2000. Police enquiries are continuing and they are not ruling out further enforcement action.
It is understood that a member of the public saw the lights on the field, realised what was happening, raised the alarm and went to the pub for reinforcements. Quick thinking by the locals saw them block the bridge, the only vehicle exit from the domain.
The four youths abandoned their car and took off on foot. However, police from Orewa were quick to respond and the youths were apprehended on the southern side of town.
Club president Troy Connolly says the damage is more or less across the whole field.
“All future games have been cancelled for at least the next two or three weeks, maybe longer,” he says.
“This is a huge loss to the club in terms of the revenue we would normally have made from the kitchen and bar on weekends.
“It felt like we were just getting back on our feet after being closed during Covid, and now this. The damage is extensive and can’t be repaired until the fields dry out.”
Puhoi has five football teams in the senior and junior competitions. While the seniors train at Metro Park where there are lights, the fields are used for junior training during the week.
“Auckland Council spent a lot of time and money on the fields this year; they were looking the best they’ve ever been. It’s very disappointing.”
The work included verti-draining, soil levelling, grassing, weed control and worm control in the Domain, and cost around $50,000.
Council senior sports park maintenance coordinator Russel Arderne says Council estimates the damage will cost around $6000 to repair.
“Once the ground is dry, we can start undertaking repair work, including verti-draining, using a Cambridge roller for sowing and top turf sand seeding,” Arderne says.
“We are noticing an increase of this kind of activity on sport facilities across Auckland.
“We have bollards and locked chains installed to deter this behaviour, but these are also being damaged.”
Damaged facilities can be reported on 09 301 0101. If anyone spots suspicious behaviour they should call the police.