Oct 13 2010 by Gordon Robertson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Anti-social youths plague Airdrie estate
GANGS of underage drinkers have vandalised a children’s play park and left residents in an area of Airdrie begging for the police to help.
Up to 30 youngsters have been “drinking Buckfast and vodka and urinating in gardens” in the Rushes area of Airdrie according to local residents.
The fenced playground in Broompark Crescent, which has a climbing frame and chute for small children, has been plagued by anti-social behaviour for months and now locals say they have had enough.
Councilor Sophia Coyle has urged Airdrie police to focus their attention on the trouble spot and put an end to the problems.
She said: “They (the young people) have wrecked the fence, they have kicked it down, and that has affected the drainage and they have scattered broken glass bottles all over the playpark.
“They are urinating in the playpark and doing all sorts of anti-social behaviour.
“There were three girls caught doing the toilet in someone’s garden. That is totally unacceptable behaviour.
“We are asking police to go into schools and speak to pupils at assembly and tell them that this is not going to be tolerated at all.
“I have had emails and phone calls about this problem in the area.
“It’s getting out of control. We need regular policing and not just a one hit patrol.
“The actions of the youths are causing stress for the people who live here and it is time for this to come to an end.”
Rushes residents claim that parents are dropping their kids off at the park and picking them up later on, oblivious to what is going on.
The residents say that they see youths with alcohol intimidating the smaller children who want to use the play equipment in the park.
It is believed that the youths, said to be aged 13 and older, arrange to meet through popular social networking sites such as Bebo.
Nancy Pettigrew, a Rushes resident and local activist, said: “The people up here are really angry about this problem.
“The young people are congregating in this park with their Buckfast bottles, vodka and beer. Wee kiddies are trying to get on the swings but they can’t get near.
“A wee girl living here went to go to the playpark but went back to her house and told her parents that they couldn’t get on the swings because of the bigger ones drinking and using foul language.
“We phone the police but it takes too long for them to respond so we want to see more police presence in the area. If they are all congregating here then the police should apprehend them.”
Another Rushes resident Irene Begley agreed saying: “There’s a lot of young people who hang about the park and the lane.
“When a lot of them gather like this it is very intimidating.
“If they don’t live round here they should be taken back to where they live.
“We have a nice area and people look after their gardens so we don’t need this behaviour.”
Airdrie police rejected suggestions that they weren’t doing enough to curb anti-social behaviour in the Rushes.
Sergeant Greg Banks told the Advertiser that some community officers had spent their whole shifts on the estate and there had been a huge reduction in calls made by residents to the police.
He said: “We have also sent around 80 alert letters out to parents and had a good response from them.
“We have asked parents to make sure they know where their kids are going in the evening and what they might be up to.
“Two weeks ago we had a peak of 12 calls on one night but in the last two weekends we have had no calls at all from the area.”