OFFICIALS at a rugby club are 'devastated' after travellers who trespassed on their land lit fires, dumped rubbish and used woods as a toilet.

Around ten caravans appeared at Weymouth & Portland RFC's lower pitch in Monmouth Avenue on the evening of July 7 before being evicted by Dorset Police.

It is claimed the travellers destroyed a gate, used a wooded area as a toilet and lit fires.

A fundraiser has now been set up as the club starts to repair the damage, as well as clean up the rubbish and human waste left behind.

Club secretary Jon Monaghan said this has put more pressure on the club.

"This has hit us hard," he said. "Not only are we dealing with the coronavirus, potentially we are going to miss out from valuable income.

"Thankfully the fires that were lit were limited to the edges of the field not actually on the pitches. The biggest problem we had was they had been using the wooded area to the side of the pitches as a toilet.

"We are primarily a community-related club and a big part of what we do is getting kids into sport. The last thing we want is human faeces around the place."

A statement by the rugby club was posted on social media which read: "We as a community club recognise that not all travellers are anti-social, cause damage to property and leave waste and do not want to tar all travellers with the same brush.

"As a community club we rely on volunteers to keep the facilities up to scratch and need to raise funds throughout the year to service the club activities. We do this by allowing law abiding visitors to use and enjoy our club. We are working with our neighbours to become a positive force in the community and have striven to reduce any issues relating to the club and its use.

"As a club we welcome anyone who wants to play sport or just use the facilities and the actions of a few will sadly now have an impact for many.

"We are devastated by the actions of the travellers who have accessed our club and damaged the pitch by lighting fires, by driving across them in cars and dumping rubbish. We will now somehow have to raise the money to address the damage caused and hope that it will have no long standing impact.

"We would like to thank the clubs volunteers who have been at the club keeping neighbours up to date, neighbours for their support and understanding, the local police and Dorset County Council for their support during this difficult time."

Mr Monaghan praised the support from Dorset Council, the community, the club's neighbours and local businesses that have offered assistance.

"On Wednesday it was a really dark place," he said. "But we have come out of that and now it is something positive.

"Out of a really difficult time for us as a club the community has really got behind us."

To donate to the fundraiser, visit

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