A SPORTS club was forced to close for a week after its car park and all-weather pitch were accessed by travellers.

Leigh Rugby Union Football Club in Pennington shut last Wednesday after around 14 caravans illegally moved on to the site on Hand Lane.

The caravans have now moved from the site after being issued with an order to vacate the area on Friday, but the club says it had to pay around £2,000 to hire a company which specialises in legally and forcibly removing travellers.

A spokesman for the club said: "The site is clear and as secure as we can get it without undertaking structural work.

"We are pushing ahead to install sturdy height barriers at the gate area and also looking at vulnerable grassed areas in the vicinity that may be illegally accessed.

"It's all at cost, so if anyone can find money from various grants or sponsorship we would be grateful and there will be a secure donation box in the club for anyone who wants to help towards costs. However, a suggestion put forward by several people is that a great way to help is to join the club as a member for £10 and have a drink.

"That way we benefit from cash and you benefit in becoming a member with access to a CAMRA award winning hospitality."

The club thanked Wigan Council and Greater Manchester Police for their support and advice.