Littlehampton golf course repeatedly vandalised by groups of youths

The manager of Littlehampton Golf Club has spoken of his frustration due to the site being repeatedly damaged by groups of youths having large meet-ups on the grounds after hours.

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 12:25 pm

The manager of Littlehampton Golf Club has spoken of his frustration due to the site being repeatedly damaged by groups of youths having large meet-ups on the grounds after hours.

Damage to the green has been made and litter has been left on the Littlehampton Golf Club site after meet-ups of a group of up to 70 youths, aged between 15 and 17, happened on the course.

Sean Manning, 39, general manager at the club, said these meet-ups had started towards the end of the summer this year. He added: “Our green keepers would come in of a morning and up towards the corner of our golf course on our second hole, our fairway was littered with drinks bottles, rubbish, and drug paraphernalia. The World War One fort is also on our site and it is where the youths are coming in.

A large group of youths have been travelling to Littlehampton golf club out fo hours to use the site to hold illegal raves

“On top of that, there was damage to our tees, damage to our greens, flags were stolen and snapped.

“When this first started, it cost the club between £500-£600 to clean up the greens and to fix what had been damaged.”

Sean, along with other staff at the golf club, thought this would be a one-off incident and that it wouldn’t happen again – unfortunately, they were wrong.

Sean added: “The meet-ups started to happen weekly towards the end of summer. There was one time when it happened when there were members on site at a private party.

A large group of youths have been travelling to Littlehampton golf club out fo hours to use the site to hold illegal raves and have left rubbish behind runing the green

“These members tried to engage with them but they were verbally abused and threatened and it was really scary.

“This carried on for about five to six weeks.”

Once again, the staff at Littlehampton Golf Club assumed these incidents would end, coinciding with the end of summer however, they were proven wrong for the second time.

Sean said: “On November 19 it happened again. The damage was really bad and we’re now into thousands of pounds worth of damage to the course now, and not to mention again the waste left behind.

A large group of youths have been travelling to Littlehampton golf club out fo hours to use the site to hold illegal raves and have left rubbish behind runing the green

“We did call the police when these incidents happened in summer, but they weren’t able to attend. We called them again when this most recent incident occurred.

“The police arrived and were met with about 50/60/70 youths. They called for back-up and when they arrived, they said there were too many people there for them to do anything.”

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: “Police are aware of incidents of anti-social behaviour at Littlehampton Golf Club in the summer and in the past few weeks, however there have been no reports of “illegal raves” held by a large group of people.

“Our Neighbourhood Policing Team will be increasing proactive patrols in the area over the next few weeks in order to prevent and deter any further incidents of anti-social behaviour.”

A large group of youths have been travelling to Littlehampton golf club out fo hours to use the site to hold illegal raves and have left rubbish behind runing the green

The staff at the golf club said they are at a complete loss. Sean found train tickets left behind from the meet-ups from Worthing and Chichester.

He said: “It’s almost like these youths are communicating with each other and planning a large gathering on our dunes and the golf course on purpose, its a planned event.

“Because I’m at a complete loss, I’ve got staff that are absolutely loosing it because of the work that is involved and the damage to the course which they’ve spent years maintaining.

“My staff wake up at four in the morning and come to work in the freezing cold to look after our green. Some of these guys have been doing it for years and the course feels part of them - they have an ownership over it.

“They are coming to work and seeing these young kids just absolutely destroying the course, it is really demoralising.

“Take away the loss of money, we’ve got staff that are really demotivated, demoralised and hurt by these incidents to be honest. Our members are unhappy because they pay a lot of money for this course and it has been damaged.

A large group of youths have been travelling to Littlehampton golf club out fo hours to use the site to hold illegal raves and have left rubbish behind runing the green

“These incidents have had a massive affect on everyone at the club and something needs to be done about it.”