Craigavon Council has been forced to shut a top beauty spot just weeks after it opened due to serious anti-social behaviour.
The new £70k picnic and car park on the picturesque shores of Lough Neagh at Bartin’s Bay has been locked up after gangs of dragsters, drinkers and drug takers invaded the beauty spot leaving a trail of destruction.
Newly planted trees have been uprooted, freshly sown grass has been ripped up by drivers doing doughnuts and vandals have ruined the freshly refurbished parking area.
Since it opened just a few weeks ago, the beauty spot has become a mecca for dragsters racing cars along the main road and doing doughnuts in the car park.
The huge throng of vandals invading the area have left smashed Buckfast and other bottles as well as a plethora of other unslightly litter.
One woman revealed how she watched as a child cut her foot on a broken bottle at the information area and another toddler picked up a cigarette packet.
The woman said: “The little girls’ father stated that this was a disgrace and drove her off after picking glass out of her foot. I was only in the car park for about 10 minutes in total.”
It is understood that police have been called several times and police successfully caught some of the thugs.
The resident was particularly concerned about the sheer volume of youths coming to the car park
“It’s clear the only use this car park gets is abuse. The PSNI have been great but it’s not in anybody’s favour for them to be repeatedly called night after night.
SDLP Cllr Joe Nelson said: “We need an urgent plan to address the continuing issues at Bartin’s Bay. We have spent a considerable amount of money to improve the facilities here but it continues to be abused by anti-social elements. The residents are tortured by this behaviour and a child has been injured by broken glass. This situation needs dealt with urgently.”
A spokesperson for Craigavon Council said it had recently received concerns from residents regarding anti-social behaviour including drink and alcohol abuse, noise and vehicles related matters. Council is working with councillors, PSNI and residents to help combat anti-social behaviour. “The area is closed temporarily to ensure Council can take practical measures to improve security, i.e installing Bollards, creating a bank to prevent cars gaining unauthorised access and erecting signage.”