Lancashire

Fire damages Rossendale Football Club stand

Rossendale United fire: Chris Lord
Image caption The club was expelled from the North West Counties League last year

A large fire has severely damaged the main stand at Rossendale Football Club in Lancashire.

The blaze began at about 17:00 GMT on Sunday at the club on Dark Lane in Newchurch near Rawtenstall.

Former chairman and player Steve Hobson said: "The whole ground is wrecked. I'm absolutely devastated."

An investigation is under way into the fire which damaged a 260 ft (80m) area of the timber and concrete stand as well as the club's office.

Following financial problems, the club was expelled from the North West Counties League last year.

Mr Hobson said the fire was "the final nail in the coffin" for the ground.

"Some fans were hoping to come back to Dark Lane but that is not going to happen now."

Andrew Connolly, who owns the ground, described the fire as "mindless vandalism".

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