Pensioners in fear at night

Pensioners in fear at night

27 November 2019

ELDERLY residents at a Crossgar housing estate are living in fear due to the actions of unruly teenagers, it has been claimed.

A crowd of up to 50 youths gathered at the Lislea Drive area in the village last weekend, smashing bottles at a children’s playground and vandalising a sign erected by local children urging residents in Crossgar to respect one another.

There were also reports of young people drinking at nearby McKelvey’s Lane which has become a popular meeting spot.

The trouble has been condemned by politicians and community leaders, who have appealed to police to increase weekend patrols in the village in a bid to deter the troublemakers.

It is also being reported locally that a significant number of those involved in last Saturday evening’s trouble were not from Crossgar, but made their way to the village from Saintfield.

Community representative, Paul Teggart, has appealed for an end to the trouble so that elderly residents in Lislea Drive can live in peace.

He said broken glass littered the children’s playground area and thanked local council staff for removing it on Sunday morning.

“There were around 50 young people in Lislea Drive on Saturday evening running amok and smashing bottles,” he said. “Such behaviour is unacceptable given the number of elderly people who live at this part of the village. They have a right to live in peace.”

Mr Teggart said people are fed up with those engaging in anti-social activity and hopes police will do more to address the issue.

“Residents in their 70s should not have to put with this trouble outside their homes. The situation is so bad that many will not venture out at night and this is simply not acceptable,” he said.

Mr Teggart — a leading member of the Crossgar Youth League — said what concerned him most is that weekend trouble in the village has become the norm.

“The time has come to deal with this issue,” he declared.

“Residents should feel safe and secure in their own homes but this is not the case at Lislea Drive at the weekend. Those responsible for the trouble have clearly no respect for both the people who live there and indeed all of us in Crossgar. We want this nonsense to end.”

Mr Teggart says it upsets him that while many people work hard on behalf of the village, those from outside Crossgar are attempting to undermine their efforts.

He continued: “The PSNI has been informed and confirmed that officers will be patrolling the Lislea Drive area from now on. The reassurance is welcoming and we hope that it will bring an end to trouble which is giving Crossgar an unwarranted bad name. Those who engage in such activity should know that they face prosecution.

“The irony of the troublemakers damaging a sign urging people to be respectful will not be lost on anyone. People in Crossgar are very respectful but, sadly, the same cannot be said for those who view the Lislea Drive area in particular as a location where they can cause trouble and strike fear in elderly residents who live nearby. Residents have a right to feel safe in their own homes at night.”

Rowallane councillor Terry Andrews has also condemned those responsible for the weekend trouble and appealed to them to stop engaging in behaviour which could potentially land them with a criminal record.

“The behaviour witnessed in Crossgar last weekend was out of order and it must stop. Those responsible need to take a good look at themselves,” he declared.

“How would they feel if someone was being unruly outside the home of their grandparents? I suspect they would not be happy.”

Cllr Andrews, who confirmed that he has also raised the issue with local police, said steps must be taken to deter what he described as a “huge number of people” gathering so close to elderly residents homes.

He added: “The aftermath of the most recent trouble was broken glass strewn across a children’s play area, damage to a grass area and litter left at McKelvey’s Lane. The trouble must stop.

“A strong message needs to go out to those responsible for unruly behaviour that this is not only unacceptable, but will not be tolerated. This behaviour cannot in any way be excused.”

Both Cllr Andrews and Mr Teggart have appealed to anyone who can assist police with their enquiries into the ongoing trouble in the village to contact them.