A former Derbyshire groundsman, who was sacked by the club, has pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage after slashing the covers and sabotaging equipment in what was described as a “revenge attack”.
Chris Hallam was given an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for one year, after causing £3000 of damage at the 3aaa County Ground in Derby.
The incident took place on August 18, hours before a crucial NatWest Blast T20 match against Worcestershire – Derbyshire won their final group game to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2005. Hallam, 33, was caught on CCTV cameras slashing the covers with a knife and pouring liquid into the fuel tank of the club’s blotter machine, weeks after being dismissed.
“We were called to the county ground in Derby by staff at Derbyshire County Cricket Club who had recognised a man on its CCTV going on to the pitch and using a blade to slash the covers,” A spokesman for Derby police told the Derby Telegraph. “He was also captured on the footage pouring a liquid in to the fuel tank of the blotter machine at the ground.
“At around 3pm on August 20 we arrested Chris Hallam, who had recently been dismissed as an employee at the club, at his new place of work. He was questioned and did not realise the club had installed CCTV since he had been dismissed and he was charged with criminal damage.”
Hallam was also ordered to pay Derbyshire £3000 in compensation and must observe a 12-week curfew. The club would not comment further on the matter.