East End estate rallies against thug element
Residents, police and local politicians have met to discuss a worrying increase in anti-social behaviour in the East End area of Newtownards.
It follows the recent killing of a cat which is believed to have been burnt alive at the former Wrights chicken factory on the Portaferry Road.
Alderman Jim Shannon said a meeting was quickly convened after last week’s incident between himself, members of the East End Residents’ Association and the PSNI.
Alderman Shannon described the killing as “one of the most despicable things that I have ever witnessed and the smell of burning hung in the air even days after the event had taken place”.
He added that over the last few weeks the level of “anti-social behaviour and downright badness” has reached new levels.
“In Londonderry Park some low lives covered the children’s slides in excrement and a young child playing was then unknowingly covered in it after coming off the slide,” he said.
“It is only a matter of time before a sliver of glass from a broken bottle will be left on the slide and a young child will cut themselves and possibly cut a vital artery.
“The burning alive of a young kitten has shown that things have reached an all time low and the good people of the East End of the town will not be taking anymore.”
Alderman Shannon said he had spoken to Sergeant Davy Lindsay at the PSNI who had promised a serious commitment to the problem.
Ards Area Commander, Chief Inspector Phil Knox, said the issue of anti-social behaviour and underage drinking “is currently a priority for police in Ards”.
“Tackling such activity requires a variety of tactics and we have had a number of meetings with our statutory partners and community representatives to consider options,” he said.
“A variety of diversionary activities are ongoing across the area aimed at young people, training programs have taken place involving staff from licensed premises to inhibit the availability of alcohol and the council are launching a new licensees code of practice very shortly.
“But primarily young people engaged in the activity must learn to act responsibly and with consideration within our community.”
He added that police were made aware of the discovery of a dead cat at a disused building on the corner of Market Street/Portaferry Road and that the USPCA was informed and the animal's body removed.
Ian Cox of the East End Residents’ Association said there has been a rise in anti-social behaviour over the past number of weeks but police have been “very robust” in their response after recent discussions.
“In fact I was out around the area at the weekend and you could have heard a pin drop,” he said.
“Thankfully police are looking long-term at dealing with this problem.”