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'It breaks your heart': Vandals wreck Dagenham golf course

PUBLISHED: 14:00 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:15 07 February 2019

The fire brigade was called and hat to break into the course after the vandals set light to on off the huts. Picture: Jamie Deeble.

The fire brigade was called and hat to break into the course after the vandals set light to on off the huts. Picture: Jamie Deeble.

Jamie Deeble

Vandals have caused up to £8,000 of damage to a pitch and putt course after they smashed facilities and burned down a hut.

The ashes of a hut at the Dagenham golf course. Picture: Jamie Deeble.The ashes of a hut at the Dagenham golf course. Picture: Jamie Deeble.

The damage comes after Steve Deeble, manager at the Central Park venue, spent more than £7,000 renovating the business.

He does not have a stake in the course or the company, instead paying for what he believes is a valuable asset to the community.

“I’m the one who puts the heart and soul into the course,” said Steve, who played golf with his father there when he was a child and has been maintaining the course since 2004.

“It’s just too much to take in. It’s the worst it’s ever been.

Damage following the vandalism. Picture: Jamie Deeble.Damage following the vandalism. Picture: Jamie Deeble.

“It breaks your heart.”

The London Fire Brigade were to the course in the early hours of Monday, February 4. Three fire engines attended and firefighters had to break in to put out the flames.

There have been previous incidents in the past four years, said Steve, including all the CCTV cameras being taken and burned.

Despite that, Steve has vowed to continue with the course, which charges what he calls ‘community prices’.

Steve Deeble says it will cost between £5,000 and £8,000 to get the course back to its former state, pictured here. Picture: Jamie Deeble.Steve Deeble says it will cost between £5,000 and £8,000 to get the course back to its former state, pictured here. Picture: Jamie Deeble.

His two-year-old grandson, Lenny Williamson, is a regular face at the course and has been around it since he was around seven months old.

“When I’m working on the golf course he’s right there behind me, he’s with me,” Steve said.

“People look at him and say, ‘What a lovely place to be brought up in’.

“Never mind nurseries, he’s learning about the birds, the butterflies and everything. The quality of knowledge is different.

The pitch and putt before the damage, decorated for Halloween. Picture: Jamie Deeble.The pitch and putt before the damage, decorated for Halloween. Picture: Jamie Deeble.

“It’s not like going to work. I’ve got to cut greens, cut fairways, cut trees, genuinely get stuck in.”

The pitch and putt club is calling for help on Saturday, February 9 to help get the course to its former state.

“Whatever happens, Saturday morning I’ll be over there at 9am, open for the public as usual. I’ll get a little generator and make cups of tea,” said Steve.

“We’ll just throw more money at it to look after it and if we don’t have the money I’ll borrow it.”

Police are investigating the incident and no arrests have been made.

Anyone witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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