A cricket team were stumped after thieves crept into their ground and stole – their PITCH.
Officials at Long Sutton Cricket Club, Somerset, were hit for six when half of their artificial wicket vanished overnight.
The 75ft long wicket – which was nailed to the ground – was only installed last year thanks to a community grant and will cost £2,000 to replace.
Club chairman Chris Vigar said: ”People joke when they say that in this day and age you need to nail things down.
”In this case it was nailed down. It’s really frustrating.
”We noticed it had gone between Christmas and the new year while we went to inspect the pitch after all the snow and frost.
”It was unbelievable. Half of it was just missing.
”What is really frustrating is that it will be the kids who miss out. During the summer we have around 60 kids who use the all weather pitch for training sessions and games.
”It’ll be absolutely tragic if they miss out because of this.
”We’ve had kids playing up there for years and years on artificial pitches.”
Angry clubmen discovered that half the artificial surface had disappeared from their Martock Road ground in December.
The pitch had only been installed in January last year and was funded by a grant from Somerset Community Foundation.
The culprits are thought to have cut the surface and entered via the neighbouring village hall car park.
Tyre tracks were visible in the grass but the police say they have no leads – and no idea why such a crime would be committed.
Long Sutton Cricket Club now faces a battle to raise enough cash to replace the pitch before preseason starts in April.
The club had planned to fundraise for new kits – but will now have to plunder its resources into laying a new pitch.
Mr Vigar said: ”There couldn’t be a worse time for this to have happened with current financial climate.
”We hold fundraisers every year to generate up to a £2,000 for this one project is a huge ask.”
He urged the close-knit Somerset cricketing community to snitch on anyone offering around artificial pitches.