Anti-social metal detectorists have been blamed for a spate of vandalism at Lacock Cricket Club, after the pitch was dug up for a fourth time.

Trespassers have been digging up the club’s pitch on the village recreation ground, with police blaming treasure hunters.

Club secretary Anthony Edwards, who maintains the pitch, said: “It initially happened back at the end of August, then again last month they came round again and had a go. It’s mainly the outfield, but last time they dug up the square itself.

“When you spend a lot of time trying to do work on the pitch it’s soul destroying to see this happen.”

Speaking at last Thursday’s Corsham Area Board PC Hazel Anderson said the Neighbourhood Policing Team would be increasing patrols in the area.

“It is thought that someone has been using a metal detector and as a result, has been digging search holes,” she said.

“A patrol task has been set-up to give the area plenty of attention during the hours of darkness.”

Mr Edwards said: “The cricket club is away from everything at the top of the playing field, with houses backing on at the end, so it’s enclosed, and nobody would see anything at night.

“We could get security lights up there, but that would cost a fortune.

“It’s very frustrating. We had the whole thing reseeded at the end of the year. It’s just vandalism, and what they expect to find God only knows.

“The National Trust are aware of it, but what can we do?

“You rant and rave about it, but at the end of the day the problem won’t go away unless somebody catches them red-handed.”