Complaints after Port Vale players caught urinating in bushes
POLICE have been called in after Port Vale players were caught urinating in bushes by a park warden during pre-season training.
The warden also reported being verbally abused by some of the players following the incident at Hanley's Central Forest Park.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council called in Staffordshire Police after receiving the warden's complaint.
Now police have contacted Port Vale Football Club to look into the matter.
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It is not known how many players, or who they were, were involved in Wednesday's incident.
Friends of Central Forest Park chairman Paul Breeze, pictured below, said: "We are talking about professional footballers. I am sure some of them will be reprimanded for this.
"They should show more respect."
Port Vale started their pre-season training at Central Forest Park on Monday last week.
Councillor Andy Platt, city council cabinet member for city services, said: "We are aware of an incident involving Port Vale Football Club's use of Central Forest Park last Wednesday.
"This matter is being looked into by Staffordshire Police, and we are helping the police with their inquiries.
"No-one has been prevented from using the park as a result of the incident."
Anyone caught urinating in a public place can be hit with an on-the-spot police fine of up to £80.
Inspector Shaun Kerrigan, from Stoke-on-Trent Central Local Policing Team, said: "We received a complaint from Stoke-on-Trent City Council in relation to the use of Central Forest Park by playing staff from Port Vale Football Club.
"We have raised this complaint with the club's management, which is addressing the matter.
"All such complaints about the use of open public spaces are taken seriously and dealt with accordingly."
Port Vale have not commented on the incident.
But supporters' club chairman Pete Williams said: "If the players have to go then they have to go.
"The manager needs to have a quiet word because they shouldn't have done it but I don't think it needs to go any further than that.
"It is very embarrassing, but with the new season coming up there are more important things to concentrate on."
Park-users today spoke of their shock over the incident.
Mum-of-two Maria Swift, aged 31, of Sneyd Green, said: "I think it is disgusting. It would be bad enough if this involved just a normal park-user but footballers should know better.
"What sort of message does this send out to kids?"
Engineer James Bolton, aged 33, of Sneyd Green, said: "It is not very good when there are children in the park.
"I am glad this matter has been reported."