Watton Sports Centre hit by ‘mindless’ arsonists for second time

A fire has destroyed a spectator stand at Watton Sports Centre.

A fire has destroyed a spectator stand at Watton Sports Centre. - Credit: Archant

A sports centre has condemned the actions of 'mindless individuals' after it was hit by fire for the second time in eight months.

Firefighters were called to Watton Sports Centre, on Dereham Road, at around 11.40pm on Friday to reports the spectators stands were ablaze.

Crews from Watton and Hingham helped tackle the fire, which took around 40 minutes to put out.

Alec Painton, the sports centre's hospitality manager, said: 'It is really disappointing. It's a fantastic facility for the area and it seems there are some mindless people out there who want to ruin it for everyone.

'We're trying to build it up to offer more things and a few mindless individuals are going out to spoil it.'

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Mr Painton was on duty last night and left the main centre building at 11.40pm, but due to the direction he was walking in he didn't spot the fire.

'They struck lucky – as I was walking the other way when I left, I wasn't in a position to see the stands.'

At the end of August last year thousands of pounds of damage was done to the stands when a fire gutted part of the wooden structure.

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'The stand was in a poor state after the last fire and now it is even worse,' said Mr Painton.

A number of clubs use the centre's facilities including Watton United FC and Watton Hockey Club.

A spokesman for the football club said: 'It is a complete nightmare. This is just another problem for us.

'You try to produce a facility for the local community, and then something like this happens.

'Every time I come down to the grounds, there is something else to make me cry.'

A police spokesman said the fire is believed to have been started deliberately.

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