Two football pitches at the Valley Park which were damaged by vandals last week will be out of use until September, the council has confirmed.
Goalposts, fencing and the pitch surfaces were damaged during the incident on Easter Monday (April 21), when yobs driving a stolen digger went on a wrecking spree.
A council spokesperson confirmed that repairing the damage could cost up to £3,000. And she revealed that the pitches will be out of use until the start of the new football season in September.
The digger used to vandalise the playing fields was stolen from a nearby NI Water construction site at O’Neill Road. And the company has said that additional security measures have now been put in place in order to avoid any repeat of the incident.
A Rathcoole man told the Times this week how he’d contacted NI Water on Easter Monday afternoon to warn them that the digger was lying unsecured, hours before it was used to wreck the pitches. He questioned why no action was taken to secure the construction site and the digger following his report.
“The message was relayed to the contractor who manages the site, but due to unforeseen technical issues, the message was not picked up immediately. Unfortunately, the site was targeted by vandals later that same evening,” a spokesman for NI Water explained.
“Since then, the site at O’Neill Road has been fully secured, with damaged fencing replaced. All site equipment is being removed from the site at weekends in order to prevent a repeat of this incident. The PSNI are investigating the original offence. Consultation is ongoing regarding the employment of security personnel to guard the site.”
He added: “NI Water are very grateful to the customer who alerted us to the unsecured site.
“We would ask the local community to be vigilant against vandalism at NI Water sites. Damage to site equipment can cause major delays in work schedules.”