Concern over ‘Spiderkids’ on town centre roof

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Concerns have been raised after children were spotted on the roof of a former shopping unit on Main Street in Ballyclare last week.

A picture of the two young boys, who had climbed onto the roof of the old Asda store, was posted on the Ballyclare, It’s Your Town Facebook page.

The picture, which was accompanied by the comment, “Do you know where your children are? These boys are up on the roof of the old Asda building on Main Street. It is dangerous and very unsafe! Please warn them against being up there. We don’t want another tragedy,” received a lot of feedback from concerned residents.

One person said: “Silly boys,” while another said: “Accident waiting to happen.”

Some people linked the boys climbing on the roof to the closure of Ballyclare Youth Club, however, others hit out at this claim. One person said: “No youth club does not lead to bad behaviour. Behaviour is learnt at home from a young age. Always someone wanting to blame others for their unruly children!”

Another person said: “No this is not a result of not having a youth club. It’s called looking after your children.”

Speaking to the Times, Cllr Vera McWilliam said: “This is very concerning, but it has been going on for some time. I don’t want anyone falling from the roof and would urge children and young people to stop climbing up there.

“Parents should take more responsibility with their children and know where they are.”

The UUP representative added: “Hopefully now that the schools are back on, the children and young people will not have the time to be doing things like this.

“This site has been lying derelict for a number of years. Perhaps now something could be developed and the site could be put to use.”

Urging the young people to stop “putting themselves at risk”, PUP representative Scott McDowell said: “We are shocked to hear that young people are putting themselves at risk by climbing on to the roof of the old Asda building. I would appeal to these people to think twice and refrain from doing things that put them at risk.

“I would also appeal to the owners of the building to please have it secured immediately as the last thing we want is a death on our hands.”