SECURITY measures are to be officially installed at the Pontypool RFC ground by Torfaen council, following a shocking campaign of abuse on the home of the historic club.
A CCTV system will be used to deter vandals who have wreaked havoc there over the last year
The system, which will cost the local authority £13,000 for installation and the cost of monitoring for two years, will be linked to a 24-hour monitoring station where operatives can issue a public address warning or contact the police if they see anti-social behaviour. The club are also making a contribution to the monitoring costs.
The park’s grandstand and playing field - littered with needles and nails in the past - will be covered by the new system.
In April, Pontypool RFC and Torfaen council representatives, along with Lynne Neagle AM, met Gwent Police to discuss the possible introduction of a 24-hour dispersal order at the site.
An arson attack last month, which involved wood panelling at the back of its main stand being set alight, had prompted fears from the club that the whole of it might be destroyed in the near future.
The ground's iconic scoreboard - used when the ground famously hosted matched during the 1991 Rugby World Cup - has also been targeted.
It is hoped now that the club will be able to apply for the WRU A Licence, which would allow it to progress to the WRU Principality Premiership division, should it win promotion from the SWALEC Championship.
A Torfaen council spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring that Pontypool RFC can remain at its grounds in Pontypool Park. The club has accepted our offer of CCTV and we hope that it will deter the acts of antisocial behaviour which we have been seeing frequently over the last few months. We also continue to work with the club to investigate the feasibility of its request to enclose the site.”
Pontypool RFC’s corporate director, Ben Jeffreys, said: “We are delighted to have made such significant progress in our attempts to safeguard the future of Pontypool Park both for the club and general public.
“For the first time, the CCTV will enable us to understand the behaviour of those committing acts of anti social behaviour and will hopefully deter such instances from occurring in the future.
“This is a major victory particularly for the club’s volunteers, who have suffered the consequences of this anti social behaviour for far too many years. We hope they can now conduct their duties with more peace of mind knowing that we are doing all we can to eradicate the dangers they regularly encounter on a match day.”