METAL detectorists have been told to be careful when digging on sports pitches after a Ferring site was left in a “dreadful mess”.
There have been several instances where individuals or groups of metal detecting enthusiasts have been digging extensively at the cricket ground at Little Twitten, Ferring, and failing to reinstate the ground appropriately.
Doreen Doig, 78, of Sea Lane, reported the damage to Arun District Council.
She said: “I walk my dogs on Little Twitten and noticed the damage the other day.
“Not only is it a dreadful mess and looks unsightly, it could also be very dangerous as the ground is now uneven.
“There’s probably about 100 small circular areas which have been dug up, they’ve left no patch unturned and if there had been something valuable to find they would definitely have found it – they have exhausted the area.”
Doreen added: “I understand these people have a license to metal detect, however, they should be considerate of the area and the people who use it.”
Arun District Council has sent letters to everyone who holds a meter detecting licence.
A spokeswoman said: “Metal detecting in Arun is regulated by the district council by licence.
“Anyone who does not hold a licence is contravening council bylaws in relation to open space and is liable to prosecution.
“In response to these incidents, a letter has been sent to everyone who holds, or has recently held, a metal detecting licence issued by Arun District Council requesting that digging on sports pitches is avoided, but if necessary kept to a bare minimum.
“It is not permitted to carry out metal detecting on a cricket square.”
She said the council encouraged members of Ferring Cricket Club to request to see the licences of anyone seen metal detecting, adding: “Should the current situation continue, the council will be forced to review the issuing of licences.
“However, the council is confident that the incident at Ferring Cricket Club is a one-off and that sending out a letter will resolve the situation.”