THIEVES have broken into Ilsington Bowls Club and stolen a huge section of artificial turf.

It’s thought the raid happened overnight on Monday, June 1-2.

Club members discovered the 6m x 4m section was missing the next day.

Club treasurer Tom Harding said: ‘It was a very neat job. The turf has been cut very precisely.’

It’s been speculated the missing section was stolen to order and is now gracing someone’s garden.

The club has been able to remain open during the lockdown, with limited numbers of players observing social distancing guidelines. The damage to the green has put further strain on the number of people playing at one time with a section of the green now out of action.

The club now faces a potentially four-figure sum to repair the damage.

‘We only had the green restitched 18 months ago, at a cost of some £4k,’ Mr Harding explained.

‘We’re now trying to find out if the section can be repaired or if the whole green needs replacing – which could cost up to £25k.’Club captain Alan Hobbs said: 'It's a real shame. There are precious few things for people to do during lockdown, and this is a really good facility for the community.'Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact Devon and Cronwall Police on 101 quoting crime number CR/044688/20.