Officials at the Bramall Lane football ground have decided to call in the RSPCA, after discovering that the vandals digging up the turf, week after week, were not humans but foxes. Club officials were initially mystified by the appearance of more than 150 holes, each one filled with scraps of food left by supporters after matches.
The head groundsman Glenn Nortcliffe, 31, said: "They have been here for about two weeks. They often take pieces of the pie from the stands after a game and bury them on the pitch." He said the foxes had caused such serious damage to the turf that he was now looking for help in dealing with the problem at the club, who are currently near the bottom of the First Division. "I'm going to contact the RSPCA to see if they can catch them and put them in the wild somewhere."
An RSPCA spokesman said: "If United want us to deal with them, they could be caught and we have a contact in North Yorkshire who will know an area without foxes already in it. If we were to move them to somewhere else in the city they would probably find their way back."