From the Argus
A youth football club chairman paid nearly £5,000 of his own money to stop groups of Travellers from camping on its pitches.
Nick Poyner, of Patcham United, suffered an injury to his hand when he tried to stop a group breaking into Horsdean playing fields, Brighton.
The unauthorised encampment is said to have prevented about 180 youngsters from training.
Keen to prevent a repeat incident, Mr Poyner paid £4,762 to dig trenches and add extra earth to the mounds already built by Brighton and Hove City Council.
Mr Poyner said: “I did most of the work with my own hands as it’s the only way I can guarantee football not being interrupted again.
“I would welcome anyone who has not seen it to come and inspect it.”
Mr Poyner added thanks to Steve Wright at Kingspan who helped with the work.
He added anyone who wants to donate money can do so at the Ladies Mile pub in Mackie Avenue, Brighton.
A council spokeswoman said: “We are actively working to protect vulnerable sites.
“We’re reviewing the security of sites and putting improvements in place wherever possible.
“We will continue to keep this under review.
“We appreciate the football club’s concerns and the chairman’s work to help secure the football pitches.
“We were dismayed with the violent way used to gain access and are exploring ways of preventing these kinds of problems working with the police.”
Four unauthorised encampments were in the city yesterday.
These were Chalk Hill car park, next to Coldean Lane, Brighton; Waterhall playing fields; Wilson Avenue, east Brighton; and Wild Park.
The local authority said it had visited all the sites with police and were seeking possession of the land.
Until this was granted it would continue to monitor the encampments with officers.
Councillors were told yesterday that 11 of the 23 pitches at the transit site in Horsdean were in use.
However the others were unavailable as the local authority carried out “major refurbishment works” on the shower block, lighting and security at the site which should be complete by the end of the week.
The local authority is also currently drawing up firm plans for a permanent travellers’ site next to the transit site in Horsdean.