More than 500 runners were rerouted off track during a town road race due to a group of teenage vandals.

The EPIC 5k, a community sports event which gives back to local sporting initiatives, returned for its sixth annual race in Aylsham on June 7.

However, a police investigation has been launched after hundreds of runners were led astray onto some of the town's busiest roads.

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Each year, the race follows the same route through the town with roads cordoned off and marshals appointed along the route. 

Road signs and arrows are used to direct the crowds, with a lead cyclist at the front of the track.

However, at a fork in the path, a group of 15 to 20 teenagers brought their own traffic cones and changed the direction of the arrows mid-race.

In meant the runners went on to the town's unmarked roads with no traffic manager to prevent an incident.

Steven Hitcham, director of EPIC Norfolk, who launched the annual event in 2019, said: "There could have easily been an accident, a lot of people didn't notice, but it could have gone a lot worse.

"The crowd were able to join the route again from the opposite of direction, everyone was able to complete the race safely, they just ended up running a little bit further.

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“We still had a great evening, thanks to our marshals thinking on their feet.

"But it's frustrating", he said, "the results are now void because it wasn't on an official route."

The incident has been reported to the police, with a local beat officer who took part in the race recognising the teenagers as having been reported as some of the "worst kids in town".