‘Mindless vandals’ put lives of children at risk

Damage to the dug out at Paisley Park, home of Albert Foundry FC
Damage to the dug out at Paisley Park, home of Albert Foundry FC

“Mindless vandals” could be putting lives at risk following a series of attacks at a Belfast sports complex, it has been claimed.

Albert Foundry Football Club saw around £5,000-worth of damage caused to its ground earlier this year when vandals set fire to the stand and dugouts.

Manhole cover removed at Paisley Park, west Belfast.

Manhole cover removed at Paisley Park, west Belfast.

This week manhole covers at the west Belfast ground were removed.

Paisley Park Sportsplex on West Circular Road, between Springfield Road and Ballygomartin Road, has been the home of the Amateur League side for over 70 years.

Football club chairman Stephen Young told the News Letter: “I am astonished at the way some young people have treated this facility. It is being used as a drinking and drug den at least once a week.

“But their actions have become much more serious recently.

“Removing manhole covers is putting lives at risk, as kids as young as four use this facility for training.

“We will not let this small group of mindless vandals deter us from making this a facility the local community can be proud of.”

DUP Alderman Frank McCoubrey described Paisley Park as “the crown jewel in the upper Shankill”.

He added: “The club is carrying out fantastic cross community work, and it is disappointing that a small number of young people are intent on causing destruction.

“The PSNI has been made aware of this latest incident and they have assured us that patrols will be stepped up in a bid to deter this reckless behaviour.”

The PSNI said: “We are appealing to parents in the area to be aware of where their children are, and what they are up to.

“The behaviour of your child may be making the life of your neighbour, or another member of your community, almost unbearable.

“We all bear a responsibility to work together and make this community a safer place in which to live, and those who hold positions of responsibility and influence are asked to help.”