‘Time to tackle anti-social yobs’

Anti-social youths hanging around the shops and play area in Kings Park are making local residents' lives a misery, it has been claimed.
Anti-social youths hanging around the shops and play area in Kings Park are making local residents' lives a misery, it has been claimed.

A FERNAGH man has called on local residents, police and politicians to work together in a bid to deal with anti-social yobs who are making people’s lives a misery.

The man, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of reprisals against him and his family, contacted the Times this week revealing that children and teenagers are roaming the streets at nights, harassing local residents and damaging people’s property.

The father-of-two said that the problem is particularly bad around the play park at Fernagh Road and the shops at Kings Crescent.

“We have gangs of youths roaming the place who feel it is their God given right to hurl abuse at anyone they want. I know personally a few women who refuse to go to the shops after dark due to the harassment they receive from these groups.

“It’s been terrible for months, and with the summer approaching it’s just going to get even worse.

“Half the parents round here couldn’t care less about what their kids are getting up to. There are kids as young as eight and nine running round the streets at 10 or 11 at night. They have no respect for anything or anybody. If you say anything to them they just stand there and give you a mouthful of abuse.”

The angry resident said that he has raised his concerns with the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, and a number of councillors for the area in a bid to get something done to stamp out the ongoing problems.

“I will give the police their dues, they do try, however they cant be here 24/7. Where are the community groups and leaders? Where are the parents? When people can’t take their kids to the park without receiving a mouthful of abuse from these low-lifes it begins to speak volumes about how far the standard of community has dropped.

“In places like Monkstown and Rathcoole they have got community groups and community leaders, but round here we don’t have anything like that and the whole place just seems to be falling by the wayside. It’s got that bad that I just don’t think anyone’s interested in doing anything about it.

“It’s got to the stage where my temper is going to snap and I’m going to go out and grab one of these kids, but I know that if I do that it’ll be me who gets in trouble with the police. Something has to be done, and done fast, by the police, parents, politicians and community leaders to get this trouble stopped.”

Councillor Thomas Hogg confirmed that he has been liaising between local residents and neighbourhood police Constable Pauline McNeill regarding anti-social behaviour issues in the area.

“Local residents are particularly concerned about groups of unruly youths hanging around the playground and shops at Kings Crescent. I wouldn’t for one moment want to demonise all young people but I am aware of a number of incidents were young people have abused adults and children,” the DUP man said.

“I know that the police have been working proactively with local schools to identify those engaging in anti-social behaviour and that the situation has improved to a degree. I have asked the PSNI to give greater attention to the area, especially with the summer months approaching.”