Rathcoole park vandals making people’s lives a misery

Rathcoole Leisure Park. INNT 36-218-AM
Rathcoole Leisure Park. INNT 36-218-AM

People living in the vicinity of Rathcoole Leisure Park are being “tortured” by large crowds of unruly children and young people, it has been claimed.

One local resident, who didn’t want to be named, said his elderly father-in-law lives close to the play park and is having to put up with the actions of anti-social youths on an almost nightly basis.

“The people who live on Derrycoole Way - a lot of them older people - are being tortured,” he claimed. “It’s just constant. They (young people) are wrecking the place and making people’s lives a misery. I thought once the kids went back to school things would’ve calmed down, but it’s just non-stop.”

The man claimed that large groups of children and teenagers, aged from as young as five or six right up to 15 or 16, are involved in the trouble.

“On Bank Holiday Monday there were about 60 there, but usually there’s a crowd of about 20 or 30 involved. It’s happening nearly every night from about six until it gets dark.

“They rip up the surface of the play area and throw it at passing buses and cars. You can see the bits of rubber lying all over the road. The council do their best to fix it, but they just keep ripping it up.

“Some of them are starting fires, breaking down trees and wrecking the benches further into the park. The place is being destroyed,” the resident added.

A spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council confirmed that the local authority is aware of damage being caused to the play surface in the park.

“Wardens have increased their patrols in the area and repairs have been carried out where required,” she added.

Commenting on the situation in the vicinity of the park, PSNI Area Commander, Chief Inspector Stephen Reid said: “We are aware of reports of anti-social behaviour in the Derrycoole Way area. We are policing the area and working with others in the community, such as Street Pastors, to deter the behaviour of a minority.”