New Jersey turf farmers frustrated by off-road vandals

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There's a costly trend leaving its mark on some South Jersey farms. (WPVI)

There's a costly trend leaving its mark on some South Jersey farms. Vandals there are treating some fields as their personal palette, using their cars to spin up designs that damage the turf beyond repair. And that has the farmers losing money, and patience.

Sod farmers and cousins Phil and James Betts of Tuckahoe Turf Farm in Hammonton are frustrated. Earlier this week vandals in some kind of a truck tore through patches of lush green grass, leaving tire tracks, deep looping grooves, and up to $3,000 worth of damage.

Phil says, "It was probably almost a foot deep where his truck dug in and he went sideways."

James tells us, "A lot of money, a lot of time to repair it. And then our end product isn't as good."

Tuckahoe provides turf for baseball, football and soccer stadiums throughout the Northeast, including Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field.

The area where the damage occurred is turf growing for the National Football League's 2016 season.

This is not a new problem for Tuckahoe Turf or other side farmers in the area. This farm backs up to the Wharton State Forest, and frequently people driving off-road vehicles and trucks drive onto the property to joyride.

Phil says, "They ride down the edges of the roads and decide to come out on the grass and spin and do donuts. Why, I don't know. It's our livelihood."

Tuckahoe Farms posted pictures of the damage on Facebook, and they've been shared almost 2,000 times.

James says, "We've actually got some leads. So hopefully we'll be able to catch the person that did this and prevent this from happening in the future."

Hammonton police say they are actively working the case and the Betts family is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest. When they are caught, James and Phil say they intend to press charges, hoping it'll put a stop to this ongoing problem.

Related Topics:
farmingn.j. newsvandalismHammonton
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