Groundsman has livelihood stolen from him as theives take tractor and trailer

A groundsman who works on football pitches across the county has had his livelihood stolen from him after somebody took his tractor and trailer last week.

Chris Cracknell, from Fakenham, has worked on town’s football pitch for more than 10 years and has spoke of his struggles after his tractor, trailer and disc seeder were taken last week.

At the beginning of this month, Chris had bought the equipment from a former employer to continue grounds-keeping on his own. But just a couple of weeks later, it was stolen.

Chris Cracknell with his son
Chris Cracknell with his son

The equipment went from Fakenham FC’s grounds between the hours of 11.45pm and 1.40am on Wednesday, May 17 and Thursday, May 18.

“I’m really emotional, but trying to hold it back, but I’m dealing with it better than I thought I would,” said Chris.

Chris also maintains Lynn Town FC’s pitch as well as others outside the West Norfolk area, including helping on match days at Norwich City.

Chris Cracknell with his son
Chris Cracknell with his son

In order to keep working, Chris has had to hire machinery which has so far been costly. He hired some so he could work last weekend, but is unsure what he’s going to do next.

He said: “It’s costing me a fortune because I’ve had to hire more equipment in. I actually did a job Friday and earned no money as it only covered the hire fee.

“I’ve got to try and work out what I’m doing this week.”

He continued: “I’m having to think of new ways of securing things to make sure nothing else goes missing, which no one should have to do.

“The equipment had the best lock you could possibly buy but someone came with a battery grinder at night and grinded it completely off.

“It’s been a nightmare.”

A friend of Chris’ has set up a JustGiving page to help raise funds to hire machinery until his tractor is hopefully found.

So far, £530 has been raised out of the £1,000 target.

Chris has described how grateful he is for the generosity.

“My phone didn’t stop last night, so many people were showing their concern,” said Chris.

“My son asked if I was alright the other day, and I just broke down crying.”

Norfolk Police are looking into the incident.