Thugs leave pupils with no safe play area

Junkies smashing Buckfast bottles onto a primary school playground have left the children without a safe area to play.

The heartless thugs have become a constant problem, taking drugs, drinking at all hours of the day and night and vandalising local property in Craigavon.

Tullygally Primary School principal, Mrs Kirsty Andrews and SDLP Councillor, Declan McAlinden at a gap in the fence of the school where anti-social behaviour regularly takes place. INLM06-201.

Tullygally Primary School principal, Mrs Kirsty Andrews and SDLP Councillor, Declan McAlinden at a gap in the fence of the school where anti-social behaviour regularly takes place. INLM06-201.

And there have been claims some of the gang have been behind attacks and threatening behaviour towards very young children walking to and from Tullygally Primary School and past the local shops.

School principal Kirsty Andrews said this has had a significant impact on the school.

“We simply don’t have enough money in the budget to constantly repair the pitch so it means children are often kept indoors.

“Some of the gang are getting through a hole in the fence and others are throwing bottles over the fence,” she said.

“Many of our children have signed up for the Golden Mile - where the kids run a mile every day to keep fit.

“We can’t be sure that all the glass is lifted up from a gravel pitch so we have to keep the children away in case they get injured,” she said.

SDLP Councillor Declan McAlinden described the ‘den’ used by youths to take drugs and drink as a ‘disgusting mess’.

He said after another binge weekend in the trees, a number of chairs had been placed among bottles and other drugs paraphernalia.

Councillor McAlinden said he would be getting Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council and the Education Authority to clean it up and look at ways of safe-guarding the site in future.

He said there was a burnt out scrambler bike left strewn on the footpath a mere hundred yards from the primary school.

Principal Kirsty Andrews said the school was keen to find out who owned the waste land so it could be developed.

She added that there are hopes that with Pat McGibbon of Train To Be Smart, the area could be developed into a positive sports space.

She said the school would hope the authorities would work with the school to develop a 3G pitch and sports hub for the benefit of the pupils and the local community.