Hundreds of pounds which was going to be used to provide extra sports coaching to youngsters has had to be diverted to pay for emergency repairs after vandals wrecked vital equipment.

Vandals targeted a meter which controls the floodlighting at Addingham’s award-winning multi-use games area (muga) in the village.

On three separate occasions vandals attacked the meter, apparently trying to rob it of the tokens used to buy lighting time.

After the third attack which completely destroyed the meter and included an attempt to set it on fire, the lights were disconnected for safety. The attacks meant youngsters were unable to enjoy floodlit activities on the £125,000 village games area.

Mike Bolton, of Addingham Civic Society, who was one of the project managers for the games area which was opened last year, said: “We were in the process of getting a steel cabinet made for the meter and the fabricator had arrived to do an initial fitting only to discover the meter hanging out of its box.

“As a result we have had to buy a new meter and make a steel door for the old meter box which will cost us several hundred pounds.

“What is really frustrating is that we have recently won two awards for the muga.

“One of the honours was a national award, and we were going to use the prize money to fund more sports coaching for the youngsters of Addingham,” said Mr Bolton.

“Now that money will have to go to pay for the repairs. And of course it also meant that the muga could not be used in the evenings over the holidays when lots of young people wanted to use it.”

The incidents have been reported to the police and anyone with information about the attacks, or who witnesses further acts of vandalism, is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police by telephoning 101 and quoting crime number 13130511512.