Arsonists destroy Phillip Hughes tribute

PAINT and cricket equipment to be used for a tribute to Phillip Hughes at Birallee Park on Saturday was destroyed by a deliberately lit fire on Friday night.

Wodonga CFA crews were alerted to a small blaze about 2.15am at the Marshall Street ground, where they had to force entry through the locked gates.

Crews quickly contained the fire, which appeared to have been sparked by someone setting alight equipment that had been left outside, including pitch rollers, hammer and pegs and field-marking paint.

The letters “FBO” were sprayed in white paint next to the fire.

Wodonga police Sgt Mick Bourke said a contact at the Wodonga Raiders told police they had seen that tag spray-painted on the clubrooms before.

Sgt Bourke praised the “excellent work” of the CFA, which stopped the fire from spreading to the clubrooms.

“The paint was to be used for a tribute to Phillip Hughes, which makes it (the arson attack) all the more sickening,” he said.

“It doesn’t make any sense.”

Sgt Bourke believed a group of youths may have been responsible as he couldn’t “think of anything else to motivate vandalism like this”.

There was a function at the clubrooms until 1am on Saturday.

Sgt Greg Goullet said investigations were ongoing.

He encouraged anyone with information that could help investigations to phone Wodonga police (02) 6049 2600 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.