A Fife man has launched a petition to tackle anti-social behaviour in Lochgelly after his dog’s leg was cut open on broken glass.
Paul McGowan, 52, decided to take matters into his own hands to tackle issues in his local park after having to pay more than £700 in vet fees when his dog was injured by broken glass left behind by youths.
The petition, which has almost 100 signatures, requests the removal of a metal shelter in Lochgelly public park where young people gather at night.
The Lochgelly resident says anti-social behaviour has been an issue at the park for several years, with teenagers continuously stealing bins and setting them alight.
Paul believes the removal of the fixture will stop people smashing glass off the steel shelter and surrounding concrete.
Local residents ‘driven mad’
“These issues have been going on for more than five years,” said Paul.
“More recently it has started to get more hectic with a number of youths bussing in from Cardenden and Lochgelly.
“The local residents are driven mad with the amount of noise pollution, broken bottles, litter and they’re also stealing bins out of gardens and setting fire to them.
“When the issues have been raised with local councillors, it seems to be: ‘they’re just kids, let them do what they want.’
“I remember being a youngster myself, I don’t want to get rid of the youngsters but the ones who are coming to the park and underage drinking are smashing bottles and the litter and the mess that they leave is actually quite harmful.
“So much so that my dog was injured just over two weekends ago and it cost £725 to put him right.”
Paul said his dog suffered from a deep cut in his leg from broken glass left behind by youths in the park.
Paul added: “During the October holidays, there was about three different times I had to call the council in to clean up the park because of the mess and the glass.
“I live right next to the park and we take our dog out for a walk on a daily basis. It should be a park for everybody, not just for drunk teenagers at night.
‘Enough is enough’
“With my dog being hurt over two weekends ago I thought: ‘it’s time to get this resolved, enough is enough.’
“A couple of people on my petition have commented, with one woman noting that she’s sick of feeling intimidated when walking in the park during the evening.”
Lochgelly councillor Linda Erskine said the issue has not gone unnoticed and attempts have been made to tackle anti-social behaviour in the past.
She said: “Whether the shelter is there or not, my concern would be that it wouldn’t discourage the way they’ve been behaving at the moment.
“The glass has been across grass as well, it’s awful.
“Youngsters were embedding them [broken bottles] in the football pitch and had the ragged glass sitting up so you can image what that could have done if someone playing football had fallen on it.
“I would be distressed if my dog had been hurt with the glass and other people reported the same kind of distressing things where dogs have had their paws cut and they’ve had to get emergency treatment.
“I’m really interested to see how his petition goes, I would expect a lot of people will sign it in favour of getting rid of it but it’s not that it has not been thought of already, it has been discussed previously by the council.”
Local views welcome by council
Fife Council community manager Sarah Roxburgh said the local authority is considering better lighting and increased police patrols.
“We are aware of local concerns about anti-social behaviour in the park and we’re working with councillors and partners including the police to encourage more responsible behaviour from young people using the park,” she added.
“We will always welcome local views and opinions and, if petitions are submitted, they will be discussed at a future meeting of the area committee.”
‘Do not suffer in silence’
Police in Fife confirmed they are aware of reports of anti-social behaviour in the area and encouraged locals to report any incidents.
Inspector Gavin Cameron said: “We are aware of reports of anti-social behaviour in Lochgelly and no one should tolerate this kind of behaviour, it is unacceptable and hurts communities.
“Please do not suffer in silence. If you are victim of or witness to this type of behaviour then report it to the police, whether by calling 101 or speaking with local police officers.
“Where it is clear to us that there is a particular issue in a particular area, we will devote the appropriate resources, along with our partners to try to alleviate the problem.
“Such actions are directly influenced by what the public tells us.”
‘Needless drain on emergency services’
Mark Bryce, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for Stirling, said: “Deliberate fires have the potential to cause injury and even death or cause devastating damage to our environment and properties.
“They are a needless drain on emergency service resources at a difficult time.
“Our firefighters and community action teams have been and will continue to work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages.
“We also ask parents, guardians, and carers to help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risks and consequences of deliberate fire setting.
“We welcome the ongoing support of our local communities and business owners – and by following all of our safety guidance in relation to the safe storage of refuse, everyone can help to reduce the risk of fire.”