DESPERATE Dudley Town Football Club officials have been left in despair after badgers dug up the Dell Stadium pitch.

The club said it was forced to call off last Saturday's home game against Hereford side Wellington because of the damage caused by the creatures.

The Robins would have also lost the previous week's fixture against league leaders Wolves Sporting Community, but managed to reverse the game as the visitors’ pitch was free.

Dudley Town secretary David Ferrier said: "This situation has been on-going for a few weeks now. But as quickly as the pitch is repaired, the badgers come back and dig it up again.

"The club rent the Dell Stadium off Dudley Council, so it's their responsibility to repair the pitch - but I must say, they've been magnificent about it.

"They've had their maintenance team down at the Dell on a daily basis filling in the holes, only for the badgers to return the following evening.

"The damage is down one side of the touchline, but the badgers are now encroaching onto the penalty area as well.

"The club has been trying to obtain alternative facilities, but it isn't easy at this time of year as the ground has to be of a step five or step six standard and equipped with floodlights.

"Thankfully, the club has a long term lease on the ground, which works on a pay as you play policy, so we haven't lost out financially."

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “We are having problems with badgers, who are digging into the surface of the pitch at the Dell to get at earthworms and other insect larvae and causing damage.

“There had been some damage caused by badgers overnight, but the postponement was in the main due to waterlogging of the pitch from heavy rainfall.

“A later pitch inspection may well have yielded a very different result. Indeed, a match did go ahead the following day, on Sunday morning, on the same pitch.

"It is not out of action and is currently being prepared for a scheduled fixture on Wednesday night which we also fully expect to be played."

Cllr Harley continued: “Badgers are a wild animal and as such are protected by law, but we are making every effort to protect the pitch, including strengthening and securing fencing.

“But with the site situated between designated nature reserves, it remains highly likely that wildlife from these neighbouring sites will enter the stadium.”