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Council 'dumbfounded' by suspected theft from Newbury Football Club

The disappearance of the metal barrier remains unexplained. Picture credits: NCFG

West Berkshire Council have said they are 'dumbfounded' by the suspected theft of metal barrier fencing from Newbury Football Club's ground.

The 350 metres of 1.1m high metal barrier and chain link fencing went missing from the council-owned football ground in Faraday Road last year and was first noticed it was not on site on 10 December, 2019.

John Stewart and Lee McDougall from Newbury Community Football Club (NCFG) noticed the pitch perimeter had gone missing, after meeting Cllr Rick Jones at the ground.

Two months have since passed without explanation and the question of the missing fencing was posed at a Council Exec meeting on Thursday, 13 February.

Cllr Jones was asked who authorised its removal and why, but replied, "I can't answer that question, I tried to find out, but I haven't been able to do so".

It is still unknown as to whether permission was granted to remove the fencing of if it had been taken without anyone knowing.

The scrap value of the missing metal is estimated to be worth over £6,000 and it could cost around £20,000 to replace it.

(The barrier before it went missing. Picture credits: NCFG)

Lee McDougall from NCFG said:

"This was a demolition activity that would have needed permits, risk assessments and statements of work for anyone from West Berks Council to have been involved.

"So, the fact that Cllr Jones can find no record of it within the Council after nine weeks of looking, it must have been an un-authorised removal.

"As the site is listed on the Council's register as an Asset of Community Value, we strongly urge West Berks Council to ask the public if they can help solve the mystery of the missing fence or alternatively contact the police to ask them to investigate the matter as soon as possible, especially as Cllr Jones has stated the pitch perimeter fence is important for public safety.

"If the thieves did steal the metal barrier fencing, they must have been very conscientious, as they seem to have refilled in the hundreds of holes from the removed fence posts."

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