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Belfast park's free library burned by thugs after two months

By Laura Abernethy

Published 04/09/2015

The library after it was attacked by vandals
The library after it was attacked by vandals
How the park library looked

A little lending library in a Belfast park has been burned to the ground by vandals just two months after it was launched.

The wooden hut was one of several in Belfast parks which provide free books for visitors to read and then return.

Belfast City Council and Connswater Community Greenway launched the project at the beginning of July but last weekend the library in Orangefield Park was destroyed.

At the launch, the community project said it was "depending on people's honesty to make this work" and urged people to treat the libraries with respect.

This is the second time the libraries have been targeted by vandals. In July, the doors were torn off the library hut in Victoria Park.

Green Party councillor Ross Brown said: "This is obviously something that we're very concerned about. Any antisocial behaviour going on in the park is something to be concerned about, but particularly a valuable community resource like this. It's very disappointing.

"There has been some problems with anti-social behaviour and it's something that the council officers are aware off. We're looking into what initiatives actually help bring people off the streets and prevent antisocial behaviour.

"There's been a lot of investment into Orangefield Park and particularly with the Greenway being established, so we'd hope that it wouldn't detract from any future investment."

He added: "If you do spot any antisocial behaviour or if you see anything suspicious, make sure you report it to the police or the council."

Mervyn Jones, an Alliance councillor for the area, said: "I think it's a disgraceful act to do something like that to something which is providing a community facility. I'm disgusted with whoever would have done such a thing. If anybody knows who is responsible for it, they should contact the PSNI because it is an attack on the community."

Anyone with any information can contact police on the non-emergenc y number 101.

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