Torbay Athletics Club could be demolished after repeated vandalism

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Hole in the side of the building
Image caption,
Vandals have smashed through the walls and set light to the property twice

An athletics clubhouse in Torquay may have to be demolished due to extensive damage from repeated vandalism.

Greg Fine, chairman of Torbay Athletics and Running Club, said: "I feel like I've been kicked in the teeth. It's devastating."

The most recent attack took place on Saturday when a fire was started on the premises.

Devon and Cornwall Police believe young people are likely to be responsible but no suspects have been identified.

Mr Fine said: "The damage inside the building is now quite extensive.

"The council are going to have an inspection next week to decide what to do with the building but it's looking very likely that we might have to pull the building down."

Image caption,
Damage to the athletics club could force the council to demolish the building

Mr Fine estimates it will cost between £200,000 and £300,000 to replace the building.

He added: "It's not going to be an easy fix. If the building is knocked down we won't have anywhere to use.

"It could be a year or two before we get back into the building."

The clubhouse is next to the pavilion at Torre Valley North playing fields and the club has been there for more than 50 years.

Image caption,
The club has been in the playing fields at Torre Valley North for 50 years

Sergeant Alan Birch, Devon and Cornwall Police's Neighbourhood Team Leader in Torquay, said: "The information that we are gathering from our communities tend to show it's a young age that these issues are arising from.

"We are trying to engage with these communities so we can try to monitor emerging trends."

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A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Officers carried out an investigation but no suspects have been identified."

Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to contact the force on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously.

This week is the UK's first 'Antisocial Behaviour Awareness Week', highlighting the impact of such crimes.

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