Condemnation as ‘vital resource’ vandalised

War Memorial Park play area (archive pic).
War Memorial Park play area (archive pic).

Members of the public and political representatives have been left saddened after vandals targeted a local play park at the weekend.

The anti-social episode in Ballyclare’s War Memorial Park on Saturday night, saw damage caused to the children’s play area, while a young woman and her mother had bottles thrown at them.

Bottles were also broken in the play area and a fire was started, causing minor damage to the wet-pour surface at the facility.

Cllr David Arthurs believes the incidents were carried out by a group of around a dozen young people, aged between 13 and 17.

Condemning those behind the behaviour, the UUP representative said: “Incidents like this have been an ongoing issue in the town for some time.

“Following these latest incidents at the War Memorial Park, I will be meeting with the police. I hope they will be able to increase patrols in the town to reduce the problem.”

He added: “It’s disgraceful that this facility has been vandalised. It is also shocking that the same group attacked a young woman and her mother.

“The young woman was stopped from crossing the footbridge between the leisure centre and the park.

“She alerted her mother, who came to the bridge with her. Her mother was then subjected to vile verbal abuse. As the pair left, the group threw a number of bottles at them which smashed around them. I’d call on anyone with information to contact the police.”

Urging anyone with information to contact the police, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr John Scott said: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the incident on Saturday evening. The play area at War Memorial Park is a vital resource for the children in the local community and I am thankful that no major damage was caused. I would appeal to anyone who has any information to contact the PSNI.”

A number of residents took to social media to voice their disgust after the anti-social behaviour. Commenting on Facebook, one person said: “Shame they have nothing else to do. Lack of police only adds to the problem.”

Another member of the public stated: “The police should be on patrol in these areas, especially on weekend nights.”

The Times understands the broken glass was removed on Sunday and the damage to the wet-pour surface will be repaired within the next few days.