A Warsash youth football club is facing its “biggest crisis” after badgers tore through the pitch, leaving it looking like a “farmers' field”.

The Warsash Wasps Sports and Football Club in New Road provides a space for hundreds of children to play football every week.

However, a tournament hosted by the club– one of its main sources of income – is at risk of being cancelled after the pitch was targeted by badgers coming from a nearby churchyard.

Daily Echo: Damage to the field caused by the badgersDamage to the field caused by the badgers (Image: Newsquest, Jose Ramos)

In the last five weeks, holes have appeared on the field which has rendered it useless for children to play on.

One of the volunteer coaches, Marcus Kennedy, has told the Echo the club faces a crisis should the unwelcome four-pawed guests persist in their disruption.

The 47-year-old coach for the under-nine girls team said: “About five weeks ago there was a hole on the pitch when we came, and we thought that was strange, but we filled it up.

“A week later, more holes started appearing and we fixed them."

In a bid to find what was causing the holes, CCTV was installed - revealing the furry culprits behind the holes.

Daily Echo: The badger was captured on CCTVThe badger was captured on CCTV (Image: Warsash Wasps)He said: “We tried to put up a fence because they come from the nearby churchyard, but the badgers just keep on coming back.

"People would describe this pitch as Wembley, because of how good it is, but now it looks like a farmer's field."

He added: “You would think it’s like 20 badgers [doing this], but people reckon it’s only a couple.”

Marcus, a police chief inspector by day, said they believed the badgers were digging for grubs in the pitch - so a repellent has been applied to the field.

It takes a month for the effect to kick in, which both coaches and children hope will drive out the badgers.

However, if this does not work, then the club will have no option but to cancel their upcoming tournaments happening in June - and may need to shell out an extra £46,000 on a badger-proof fence.

Daily Echo: The Warsash Wasps Sports and Football Club, under 11 girls group [back] and under nine girls groupThe Warsash Wasps Sports and Football Club, under 11 girls group [back] and under nine girls group (Image: Newsquest, Jose Ramos)Marcus said: “The tournaments are a great source of income, we make good money which helps to run the club.

“If we can’t run the tournament then it will mean we will have to charge parents an extra £20 per child to be able to cover the costs.

“This is the biggest crisis the club has ever faced since 1977.”

At the weekend, the parents of the club's players are going to turn up armed with shovels to fill in the holes. If you want to help, please contact the club.