Rugby club calls in police over horse invasions

Bosses at Cumbernauld Rugby Club have been forced to halt matches mid-flow amid fears four legged invaders could end up injuring players and fans. Picture: TSPL
Bosses at Cumbernauld Rugby Club have been forced to halt matches mid-flow amid fears four legged invaders could end up injuring players and fans. Picture: TSPL
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FURIOUS rugby club officials have called in police and council bosses after becoming fed up with horses invading their pitch.

Bosses at Cumbernauld Rugby Club have been forced to halt matches mid-flow amid fears four legged invaders could end up injuring players and fans.

The horses live in an unsecured paddock next door to the pitch and chiefs fear the beasts could go walkabout at any moment and spark a ‘serious incident’ as well as ruin their pitch.

There has been tension between the club and the horses’ owners for months and officials have now demanded the animals’ paddock is made more secure amid fears animals could be spooked by a dog or the crowd and stampede.

Police were called to the ground earlier this month due to horses roaming around just feet away from the pitch as a match was in progress.

Officials have also said treatment for an injured player during a training session was delayed while ponies were running round the pitch as the owners tried to round them up.

Cumbernauld club secretary Charlie Kearton said: “Although the horses were grazing only a few feet from the playing area, club officials were concerned that something as simple as over excited dog could have spooked them and they could have easily bolted among the players and spectators.

“Only the other week during training, one of the youth players was injured and while he was lying on the ground awaiting an ambulance, the ponies were running about all over the fields in the fading light as someone was trying to round them up.

“The club feels the horse owners have a collective responsibility to ensure their enclosure is made more secure, or it is is only a matter of time before there is a serious incident.”

Club officials have also complained about having to deal with horse droppings that have been left on the pitch.

This is not an offence because only dog owners can be held responsible for their dogs’ fouling but club bosses have repeatedly taken the horse owners to task on health and safety grounds.

Speaking earlier, club president Jim Cochrane said: “Horse riders, cyclists and dog walkers need to go round the surface of our playing area.

“Clearly this isn’t happening as there are a number of horse tracks and horse droppings over substantial areas of our playing field.

“It is causing considerable damage to our playing field.”

A North Lanarkshire spokesman said: “We have put temporary signs in place outlining the responsibilities both dog walkers and horse riders have.

“While horse riders have access rights it is dependent on them being responsible.

“The key message is take responsibility for your own actions.”