The owner of an outdoor activities firm has been forced to remove graffiti from a local beauty spot after vandals struck last weekend.
Owner of Climb NI, Mark Robinson, who holds a licence from the National Trust to run adventure activities such as canyoning at Gleno waterfall, was alerted to the damage after concerned residents posted pictures on the Larne Through a Lens Facebook page.
Arriving at the scene, Mark was confronted by three large pieces of graffiti on the bridge and stones beside the park’s picturesque waterfall, which draws many visitors throughout the year.
“I have had the licence for the park for almost a year and we have never had a problem like this with graffiti before,” Mark told the Times.
“It’s a disrespectful act. They seemed to have used spray paint to create a “tag” that they could be identified by. Incidents like this create negative publicity for the forest, and they did it in the worst place possible, beside the waterfall, where people stand for pictures.”
After the discovery, Mark purchased cleaning materials to erase the damage.
“I think the graffiti was done on Sunday and I went down on Tuesday to try to get it off,” he continued.
“I got a lot off, but some of it has gone into the nooks and crannies, so the National Trust are going to power-hose it off. I run my business from the park and the site has many visitors from all over the world, so I wanted to keep it looking nice.
“Every day I’m there, I talk to people from across the world. The park has an increasing profile and an incident like this does it no favours.”
Mark says he is determined to keep his chin up and has issued an invitation to those responsible for the graffiti.
“These people need to get into the natural environment, so they can come and spend a day with me and they will be able to appreciate it a bit more,” he stated.
“I would like to thank the people on the Larne Through a Lens page who supported me through this and my efforts to keep the park clean and tidy.”
A National Trust spokesperson said: “It is extremely disappointing to see such a beautiful place vandalised like this.
“Our teams of rangers and volunteers have been on site this week working hard to remove the graffiti to ensure it continues to be an enjoyable and beautiful place to visit. As a conservation charity, we have limited resources that could be better used to continue providing access to amazing places across Northern Ireland.
“However, we would like to thank the local community and our volunteers for helping us to look after Gleno.”