Vandalism of a community play park in Portadown, costing thousands of pounds worth of damage, has been branded ‘disgraceful’.
DUP Cllr Darryn Causby lambasted the destruction to a ‘brilliant facility’ such at Scotch Street Youth and Community Centre.
The group’s chairman Gordon Woolsey said the play park was damaged by children as young as 12.
“We are disgusted at the damage caused to our park, the play frame, our toilet and damage to at least two neighbours homes,” he said.
“This park is for the whole community to use and enjoy and unfortunately the actions of a few are prohibiting children the enjoyment of our park.
“The damage caused in Scotch Street included: Smashed Light in Outside Toilet; broken telescope from play frame; broken steering wheel from play frame; burnt out strap of nest swing meaning swing has to be replaced; flooded sink (stuffed plug hole and left taps running) causing extensive water damage; wet Toilet roll thrown at neighbours home; steering Wheel/Toilet brush thrown into neighbours home; damaged camera of neighbours home; tried to burn trees on neighbours property; burnt part of MUGA surface.
“All of the above will cost hundreds/thousands of pounds to fix. All caused to an organisation which very purpose is to serve children and young people of the local community and to provide opportunities for them.
“We are disappointed, disgusted and saddened at what has happened however we will keep going, we have parent and toddlers in the morning followed by Youth Programmes running throughout the week then we enter our summer season filled with lots of opportunities to work with children and young people.
“However, fortunately for us, CCTV footage caught these young people, aged between 12 and 15, in the act and it has been passed on to the PSNI to deal with.”
Mr Woolsey said the community had rallied round and they had been inundated with offers of help.
However the group simply do not have the funds to repair the damage.
He revealed that a fundraising event will be set up to help pay for the repairs.
He added that there were incidents incidents of vandalism happening regularly such as leaving taps on and burning children’s toys.
Last week vandals lit a mini-bonfire on the council-owned MUGA pitch.
“It is disrespectful to the local community and to the local businessman who owns the play park property.”
It was also revealed that a camera belonging to a local resident had also been vandalised. The camera is used to alert the residents to the morning bus which comes to collect their disabled son.
Cllr Causby said the vandalism was ‘disgraceful’. “People are working hard to provide facilities for young people and unfortunately it’s young people that have damaged this brilliant facility.
He added that local groups have ‘finite resources’ and cash going to repair this damage could be spent on something more useful.
“Young people complain about being bored and having nothing to do. Well this group work very hard at providing things for the local youth to do. This attack is disgusting.”