The Chair of Dixon Park Residents’ Association has branded the second incident of criminal damage to the park in a fortnight “disgraceful.”
Ann Marshall spoke out after vandals daubed black paint over a council-owned building in the park, which is used by the Residents’ Association to run community activities.
The latest attack, which police say occurred sometime between 5pm on December 1 and 8.25am on December 2, follows a separate incident of criminal damage just 11 days before.
On that occasion, a polytunnel used by the community assocation and senior citizens to cultivate fruit and vegetables was damaged for a second time.
Despite undergoing a £1 million regeneration scheme in 2010 and being the first site in Mid and Eat Antrim to gain green flag status, Dixon Park has been repeatedly targeted by vandals since its reopening.
Ann is now calling for action to prevent the destruction.
“It’s an absolute disgrace that so much damage has been done in such a short period of time,” she stated.
“It looks like black paint has been thrown against the building, everything is clarried: the lights, banners, notice boards, plaques and shutters-it’s an awful bad mess.
“This building is the hub of the community association, we would use it for meetings and people are up in arms about this.
“It’s so sad and it makes me so angry, this is a council-owned building, which means that this damage will cost ratepayers money.”
In addition to the community association, Ann says the continual vandalism is spoiling the park for local residents.
“I’m angry for the people of the area who have to put up with this, people in Larne have a great pride in where they live and they come to enjoy a walk in the park and they are confronted with this,” she continued.
“It’s heartbreaking if the park is going to be repeatedly targeted.
“I would like the people who are doing this to think of what they are doing and the effect they are having on hard-working people.”
Ann told the Times that she is due to meet with the council this week to discuss enhancing security at the park.
A council spokesperson said it was “too early to provide costs for repairs” to the damage.
“As regards additional security, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will be working with the local community on an ongoing basis to minimise the risk of any further such incidents,” he continued.
“It is an area that local people and council alike are justly proud.
“We would therefore urge vigilance by local residents and ask that they report any suspicious activity promptly to the PSNI in the first instance and then council officials as soon as practical.”
A police spokesperson asked that anyone with information contact Larne police on 101, quoting reference 201 02/12/16. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.