Replanting and clear-up work is continuing at the community garden in Lilian Bland Park after vandals left a trail of destruction at the site last week.
Sometime between 11pm on Wednesday, September 11 and 10am the following day the garden was wrecked, plants were uprooted and young trees broken down.
The community garden, built last year, was funded through a £10,000 grant from Groundwork NI and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
The project was developed by local community volunteers and children from Ashgrove and St Mary’s on the Hill primary schools, with the help from Groundwork NI and council workers.
Catherine Hardy, Chair of Glengormley Community Group, condemned the incident, saying: “This was deliberate, systematic destruction. The whole garden has been wrecked.
“It was planted last year and over the past year we have planted more in the garden, worked on it and developed it. It’s just such a shame that this has happened.”
North Belfast MLA and local councillor Paula Bradley also condemned the attack.
“Around 30 young tree saplings were severely damaged in this unexplained attack at Lilian Bland Park. Many of the young trees were pulled up or snapped. These trees had been planted last year, close to the Ballyclare Road entrance, by local children and community volunteers,” she said.
“Council staff have replanted some of the tree saplings but many were destroyed in this senseless act of destruction. It is depressing that some people cannot respect a public park. This sort of vandalism can only be described as pathetic.
“We could push for the park to be locked up at nights, but people would miss the open access to public space and the short cut that it provides. I am determined that we must not allow the destructive actions of a few individuals to prevent the provision of public amenities.”
A council spokesperson confirmed that staff have been working with volunteers in the garden to tidy the area and help with replanting.
Police investigating the incident have appealed for anyone with information to contact them at Newtownabbey station on 0845 600 8000.