Nobody saw the pigs wreaking havoc on Ruakaka's sports fields, but they've certainly made their presence felt.

Last Thursday morning Bream Bay United Football club members were shocked to discover that overnight pigs had rooted up grass and dirt centimetres deep across half their number two pitch.

"It was devastating when we went down to look at it, just unbelievable," said club secretary Robyn Davies.

Whangārei District Council put down sand, regrassed the torn-up areas and advised the club to keep off it for four to six weeks.

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But the pigs returned on Saturday night and had another go, tearing up grass and digging up soil in the same area.

"For them to come back and do more damage - now we're down another week," said Davies.

"You just feel wrecked. There's nothing you can do."

The club is playing as many games as possible on their number one pitch, but younger players have lost their home games.

"We're working with the school [Bream Bay College] at the moment and using their fields, but this has really affected our youth teams."

Just six months ago the Recreation Centre did a huge amount of work on the grounds, she says, improving drainage, levelling the ground and regrassing.

The ground in that part of the park is slightly lower and softer, Davies says, which may have attracted the pigs.

Finding the culprits is a challenge. Pigs have been spotted behind the old power station recently, Davies says, and near the Ruakaka skate park.

Aubrey Gifford, Whangārei District Council's technical officer responsible for sports parks, says the pigs have obviously come from the large area of scrubland between Sime Rd and the refinery, but how they got there in the first place is a mystery.

His job now is finding someone to get rid of them.

"It's a little bit of a problem," he said. "I've dealt with plenty of livestock on sports fields before, but never pigs – it's usually horses or sheep."

While he's had several people offering to hunt the pigs, he says the council will most likely employ one of Northland Regional Council's preferred hunters who, with the fields bordering on an urban area, will need to use dogs rather than guns.

If the pigs escape capture, Gifford says fencing the fields may be the only option. But he would like to see them caught and says he will be more than happy to garnish and eat the pigs.

"I think there's quite a few people lining up for that, actually."