For 31-year-old Lincoln nightshift worker Daniel Wayte, living opposite a sports centre football pitch has never been a problem, until a full sized goalpost was lined up right outside his front door.
Since a number of pitches were changed from junior to adult layouts at Yarborough Leisure Centre, Daniel and his family say they have been subjected to constant aggravation and even anti-social behaviour. The goal is now only metres away from his property.
Daniel, who fits daytime sleeping patterns in with looking after his one-year-old daughter, says footballs constantly fly at his house, windows and car all days of the week.
Occasions when he has confronted players have led recently to rocks and other items being lobbed at his property, and Daniel says he and his partner fear for the safety of their daughter, whose bedroom faces the pitch.
He contacted The Lincolnite to explain that despite numerous complaints, police involvement and conflicts caught on camera, there has been no indication the goalposts will be moved.
On Sunday, October 4, Daniel decided to video his latest confrontation after a ball was kicked in the direction of his car.
He said: “This is right in front of my kitchen window and below my 15-month-old daughter’s bedroom.
“It is causing no end of problems from mild ones to having to get the police involved, currently it’s been dealt with as a civil matter.
“This weekend my daughter was left frightened and in tears after a team of footballers were shouting abuse, and two men jumped onto my property to physically get the ball off me after hitting our cars and nearly hit my daughter.
“Every Sunday I have the league men constantly hitting my house and property. It wakes my daughter up when napping as balls hit her bedroom window.
“It’s a constant nuisance and if I ask a footballer to keep the ball down and not hit my house when my daughter is in bed the situation escalates to stones, eggs, tissue being thrown at the house.
“I even have neighbours messaging me saying they are on my property hitting my house on purpose and looking into windows.
“There have been many more incidents making our lives a living hell.
“It leaves me feeling very mad and angry they can get away with this when all the council have to do is put a safety net up or move the pitch. It causes me a great deal of stress and loss of sleep.
“My partner feel scared and worried for her and my daughters safety. One of her cars received a lot of damage which was frustrating and doesn’t want it to happen again.
“My partner also has a shunt fitted in the back of her head making it unsafe to get in and out of her car with fear of being hit by a ball.
“I’ve caught them a few times and passed them onto the police, but I feel the council are not taking adequate precautions or responsibility for this matter.”
The leisure centre is run by Active Nation, and managed by the City of Lincoln Council.
The City of Lincoln Council responded to Daniel’s complaints, explaining the expansion of the pitch and repositioning of the goalpost was due to increased demand, before condemning the behaviour of some of the footballers concerned.
Simon Colburn, Assistant Director for Health and Environmental Services, said: “Providing good quality, good value football pitches is essential in delivering a balanced sport and leisure offer to the community to ensure that we engage as many people as possible from all groups in physical activity.
“The football pitches at Yarborough Leisure Centre have been there in their current format since the 1980s.
“In recent years the demand for them had changed from being used by adult teams to junior teams, which meant the goalposts had moved into the pitch more to accommodate younger sides playing the sport.
“However, this year there has been a rise in the number of adult teams wanting to use the pitches and the goalposts have been moved back to their original format.
“We will review the pitches and investigate the complaint fully.
“We do not condone the behaviour of the footballers in any way and will be writing to the teams and Lincolnshire Football Association to tell them that their conduct was unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and must not happen again.
“We will take appropriate action against individuals or teams where this occurs. Our Public Protection and Anti-Social Behaviour Team is looking into the footage and investigating the matter.”