SECURITY is due to be stepped up around tennis courts that have been vandalised three times since a £70,000 refurbishment.

Nets in two of the five courts at Roding Valley Recreation Ground off Roding Road in Loughton were slashed overnight, rendering them useless to players.

Enid Walsh, clerk of Loughton Town Council, which is responsible for the courts, said: “They’ve almost removed them completely. What’s left was left there in tatters.

“The courts are getting so much use and they’re very popular.

“It was just pure vandalism. It seems a strange target and there’s no excuse for it.

“The fact that people are carrying sharp implements – it highlights that aspect as well.”

David Wixley, chairman of the council’s recreation committee, said: “It was beyond comprehension as to why people damage equipment and so deprive others of the enjoyment of using the facility. 

“It is selfish and of course costly both financially and in terms of time.”

Council wardens started patrolling the courts more after a chain link fence was cut in July and Mrs Walsh said it would speak to the police and look into CCTV.

“Perhaps the local police community support officers could keep an eye on it,” she added. “We’re looking at increasing our patrols and possible CCTV.”

Lynda Wyles, seniors membership secretary at the Avenue Lawn Tennis Club in The Avenue, Loughton, said: “There’s definitely a need for young people to have access to cheap tennis courts.

“I drive past various public courts and since the Olympics and since Andy Murray’s been doing really well, people have thought ‘I might try it’.

“When I was young we used to go and play tennis in the local park. Park tennis is where Serena and Venus Williams started.”

Anyone with information on the latest vandalism should call the police on 101 or the town council on 020 8508 4200.

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