Cruel vandals target play area

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Vandals have been wreaking havoc at a play area for children with special educational needs.

Bottles, broken glass and litter has been strewn across the ground at Merkland Activity Centre, in Kirkintilloch.

Rubber safety mats have also been set alight by the thugs.

One angry parent is demanding action be taken by East Dunbartonshire Council and police.

Steven Alexander said: “There is a camera at the corner of the park but who actually monitors this? No one, it appears.

“This problem and the culprits should be dealt with immediately.”

Mr Alexander, who has two children aged five and seven, told the Herald he feels it is too much of a risk to allow them to play there.

He said: “I have been going to this park daily and have lived at Highfield Road for the past five years but I have sadly had to stop using these grounds.

“It is very dangerous for the kids. It poses too much of a risk due to the mess and broken glass. It’s simply not good enough.”

The play area was opened in 2004 by the then Provost, Pat Steel, and was the first of its kind in East Dunbartonshire for youngsters with special needs.

It cost £158,000, with £100,000 being donated by the Scottish Executive and £58,000 from the New Opportunities Fund.

Ann Davie, director of customer services and transformation, said: “As soon as a complaint regarding broken glass and litter within the park was received a Streetscene team was sent to clear the area.

“Merkland Play Park is scheduled for weekly maintenance which includes litter picking, emptying of bins and a sweeper sent in when possible.

“The majority of people who visit the area, come to enjoy it and do treat it with respect. They use the bins provided or take their litter home.

“However, unfortunately there are those who do not and who drop litter and engage in other forms of anti-social behaviour.

“Community Wardens will monitor the area as much as possible and continue to link in with colleagues in Police Scotland.

“Anti-social behaviour should be reported to the Police on 101. Community Wardens, within the Community Protection Team, can be contacted on 0300 123 4510.”