JOYRIDERS have targeted a Renfrewshire football club for a third time...leaving its pitch badly damaged by tyre marks.

The latest attack has sickened club members and officials at Houston United FC, who had raised £40,000 in an ambitious campaign to improve facilities at the village’s Ardgryffe Park.

Club chairman Louis Jeffrey described the mindless vandalism as “soul destroying.”

He told The Gazette: “A nearby resident heard noises like a car engine being revved about 12.15am on Saturday.

“A parent of one of our players saw the damage later that morning and reported it to the club.

“It is simply outrageous. We have reported it to the police.”

Joyriders caused similar damage in August – on the night before the club was due to have a gala opening to show off the new facilities to villagers and to football clubs from neighbouring areas.

The park was again targeted in early September, meaning youngsters were unable to play their matches.

Mr Jeffrey said: “Raising the money was a long slog and we put in four to five years of work to apply for planning permission, hire contractors and ultimately secure a completion certificate. To have it damaged in such a way again is very inappropriate.

“We have had to divert money away from spending on our teams to pay for repairs.”

Mr Jeffrey said it isn’t just the Houston club which is being disadvantaged, as Ardgryffe Park was intended to meet the need for quality facilities to be enjoyed by teams from throughout Renfrewshire.

Now the club, which is open to boys and girls and has 400 members, is being forced to consider installing barriers to prevent unauthorised vehicles from entering the pitch.

The Gazette: Inspector Jim Cast said local officers were working with the council to find a solution Inspector Jim Cast said local officers were working with the council to find a solution

“We will speak to the council to seek their assistance to come up with a solution,” said Mr Jeffrey. “There may also be an architectural solution or we could do something with landscaping.”

Police have described the latest vandalism as “really disappointing.”

Inspector Jim Cast said: “These actions are completely reckless and have a significant negative impact on the local community.

“We are working with Renfrewshire Council on a longer-term solution.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond