A COMMUNITY cricket ground is covered in ash and debris after the club house was burgled and burnt to the ground.

Wayne Morris, who works at the Jevington Cricket Club in Jevington, between Polegate and Eastbourne, was horrified to find the entire tea room and parts of the club had gone up in flames.

It happened on Sunday night or the early hours of Monday morning.

Valuable goods, including the club’s lawn mower, were stolen.

Mr Morris, from Jevington, said: “I only heard about it the next day because everyone in the village was talking about it.

“I was really shocked because every year we do have a couple of break-ins but never ever have they been this bad.

“The whole thing is ash.

“It would have happened on the Sunday night, at a time when no one was around because nobody saw it in flames.”

Mr Morris said the club had just been repainted and new changing rooms had been built.

He said: “It’s just a shame because we had just done some new work on it.

“Luckily though the new changing rooms that have just been built were untouched.

“I am the stepson of Ollie Carter, he’s the chairman of the cricket club.

“He doesn’t play any more but he does work in the grounds and I help him.

“He used the lawn mower that they nicked.”

Mr Morris said the culprits broke into the pavilion to steal the mower and broke the kissing gate near the club to take it out of the grounds.

He said: “It was clearly an organised break in.

“I have no idea who has done it but there seems to have been quite a bit lately in the area where people are setting alight to things.

“It’s a real shame because it’s a very popular spot and great for the community.

“I imagine the council are taking steps to try and bring it back to what it was.”

A spokesman from Willingdon and Jevington Parish Council said efforts were under way to restore the club.

He said: “The team happily played their match on Saturday.

“There was no match on Sunday and then this happened later in the night or early the next morning.

“No one noticed this going up in flames.

“We are looking at our insurance and seeing what we can do.

“We just spent the best part of £50,000 on parts of it, and luckily the new changing rooms weren’t affected.

“I think when it’s resurrected it should be called the Phoenix building.

“We hope the insurance should pay for it and get it back to where it was.

“The cricket club are really well supported and seem to have a thriving community.”