AN athletics club is calling on the council to improve security at a sports centre following a spate of vandalism attacks.

Members of Darlington Harriers have been faced with broken bottles, smashed equipment and dumped rubbish when they turn up for training at Eastbourne Sports Complex.

The athletes say they are regularly abused by groups of youths who descend on the site as well as being forced to keep checking the long-jump pit for broken glass.

Mark Tallon, who is the captain of the senior team, believes that the running equipment and the athletes are treated as a the 'poor relation' as the football pitches take precedence.

Darlington Borough Council, which runs the sports complex, has confirmed that a meeting between both parties is due to take place next week in an attempt to address the problem.

Mr Tallon said: "We have been having a number of problems in recent weeks and it is time that the council took the situation seriously and improved security at the running track.

The Northern Echo:

Some of the damaged equipment

"It is becoming increasingly difficult to use the facilities – we are experiencing abuse and the group of youths often through things at us while we are trying to train.

"It goes from sublime to the ridiculous at times – there is one youth who rides around the track on his bike while he is training his two greyhounds to having to check the sandpit for broken glass before we can let people train.

"As a club, we have members as young as ten wanting to train with us but it can be really difficult for them.

"The latest vandalism attack involved equipment being damaged and just left strewn around the sports track. Surely the council can do something to improve the security at the track.

"The football pitches are always securing locked and it appears they are never targeted by the vandals – at times we feel like the poor relations to the football players."

The Northern Echo:

Broken bottle

A Darlington Borough Council spokesman confirmed that the authority was looking to work with the club to resolve the problems.

He said: “Our staff will be carrying out repairs to the fencing as well as replacing and reinforcing the locks as a priority. We will also be meeting representatives from Darlington Harriers next week to discuss security at the site in future.”

For more information about the athletics club visit