CRUEL vandals stole several irreplaceable benches from a local cricket club and set them alight in a nearby wood.
Five benches were taken from Pocklington Cricket Club last Wednesday, 20 April, and dragged into Primrose Wood just a short walk away.
Four of them were totally burnt and only one survived. Numerous empty bottles of alcohol were found near the remnants of the charred benches.
The benches were donated to the club by people as a memorial for relatives who have died. Since then, some of the people who bought the benches have also died.
Alan Davies, club treasurer, said: “All the benches have been dragged into the wood and set on fire. Some of them were donated by people who have passed away.
“It is something you can’t replace. Some of them go back 10 or 15 years and we won’t be able to replace them directly but indirectly I suppose we can.
“It’s a sign of the times. It looks like they have taken them into the wood and had a party.”
He added: “I was here until 8.45pm on Wednesday [20 April] and there was nothing untoward.”
A few of the benches had plaques which have not yet been found.
Mike Smith, the club’s groundsman, discovered the remnants of the benches the morning after the incident.
In total, around £1,500 worth of damage was caused with each bench worth around £300.
The benches were only put out a few days before the incident as the club prepared for the new cricket season which got underway on Saturday.
Police have confirmed the incident took place between 8.45pm on Wednesday, 20 April, and 9am on Thursday, 21 April.
Sergeant Peter Rogers, of the Pocklington and Wolds Weighton Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This is a particularly despicable act, given that the benches were donated by the families of deceased members.
“Someone will know who is responsible and whoever was there will have come home smelling very strongly of being near a fire that night.
“We will be regularly checking the site on an evening in the light of this incident.”
Anyone with information should contact Pocklington Police on 0845 60 60 222.