USERS of state-of-the-art sports pitches in Dorchester are being urged to clean up their act.
Sports groups and leisure footballers coming to use the 3G pitches at the Dorchester Sports Centre, operated by 1610, claim they are being regularly confronted by litter and other items left behind by previous users.
One regular user of the pitches, who did not want to be named, took some photos of the rubbish he came across.
He said he was constantly coming across bottles, food and other rubbish as well as bits of clothing that had been left on the pitches.
The user added that there had never been an issue when the pitches were managed by the old Thomas Hardye Leisure Centre run directly by West Dorset District Council.
He said: “There are discarded clothes, food and litter everywhere and a blocked drain at the end. It’s been like this for months and nobody at 1610 does anything about it.”
He added that he was aware of other groups regularly using the facility that were becoming increasingly concerned about the rubbish they were coming across.
Local town and district councillor David Barrett said he would happily take up any issues with 1610 on behalf of concerned users of the sports pitches but stressed that the responsibility must be on people to clean up after themselves.
He said: “I would think it’s entirely a matter for every person that uses it to take that responsibility. Why should it be up to a third party when you are using that facility?
“My personal view is that they should clear up after themselves.
“They are using that facility and if they don’t want to treat it properly they shouldn’t be allowed to use it.”
Councillor Barrett said that the 3G pitch was a ‘tremendous asset’ for the community but warned that if people continued to mistreat it those in charge of maintaining them would have no choice but to put up charges or take other action to counter the growing problem of litter.
He said: “That would be a big shame.”
1610’s general manager Kenny Brown said: “1610 takes the issue of cleanliness of the 3G astroturf pitch at Dorchester Sports Centre very seriously.
“The pitches are inspected by centre staff for litter and lost property on a daily basis.
“Two litter bins next to the pitches are also emptied every evening.
“Any lost property found on site is taken to the centre reception for customers to claim. 1610 is going to provide two more litter bins next to the astroturf pitches for customers to use.”
He added: “The astroturf pitches have proved to be very popular with local sports groups and teams.
“The pitches at Dorchester Sports Centre are booked by six football teams every hour between 6pm and 10pm every evening. Local schoolchildren also use the pitches in the afternoons, so with the recent windy weather and with the pitches in constant use it is inevitable that some litter or belongings have been left behind.
“1610 will also be putting up notices next to the pitches reminding customers to be considerate to other users of the facilities and to dispose of their rubbish properly and to leave the site clean and fit for purpose.
“Staff will also be monitoring cleanliness at the pitches to ensure the situation improves for customers.”