Boars tear up club's new pitch

A football match was cancelled after wild boars invaded the pitch, leaving it covered in potholes. The animals squeezed though a gap in the fence at Soudley Recreation Ground in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, and dug up large holes.

The new pitch was so badly damaged that Soudley's match against Charfield on Saturday was cancelled. The pitch was expanded and returfed in April at a cost of £1,000, which was raised through events such as discos.

The Gloucestershire Football Association operations manager, Chris Lucker, said yesterday: "This is the first time we've heard of anything like this. Usually it's motorbikes or cars that tear up pitches, not boars."

The club secretary, Louise Stephens, said that members and players were devastated by the damage. "A resident saw the pitch at 8.30am and phoned my husband to say we had to get down straight away. There is no way of playing on the pitch now."

It will take months to repair the damage. All matches have been postponed.

After being hunted to near-extinction 300 years ago, wild boars have bred rapidly in Britain since they were imported from Europe for meat.

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