Aug 3 2012 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Friday
DUNBLANE-BASED police officer Jim Young insists he’s determined to clamp down on the alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour said to be blighting the lives of those using Laighhills Park.
Cathedral city resident Caroline Mayall contacted the Observer recently to vent her fury after being greeted by a “disgusting” sight following a recent visit to the popular green space.
In a letter, the Springbank Gardens local said: “Almost a year ago to the date, I wrote an open letter to a certain number of drunken, mindless. youths in Dunblane about the disgusting state in which they were treating the Laighhills Park, particularly through the summer holidays.”
Citing a recent visit to the park as an example, she continued: “I was appalled and repulsed by a revolting sight. Condoms littered the play area and someone had defecated on one of the swings. Broken glass and bottles littered the grass and every other swing had been wound around the top bars.
“This is absolutely unacceptable. This is truly filthy behaviour and cannot be tolerated.
“I have reported this matter to the police and have asked that the park is patrolled constantly in the evenings, as this mindless vandalism is not acceptable. If they are not willing to do so, I have a mind to patrol the park myself and report these youths directly to the police.”
In addition to the local press, copies of Caroline’s letter were submitted to Central Scotland Police, Stirling Council and Dunblane High School.
Sergeant Young transferred to Dunblane police office in April this year following a stint with the local police priority crime unit.
He stated this week: “The town centre and surrounding green belt areas are very well presented, however, I have been concerned about the recently reported mess found in the Laighhills Park area.
“The Laighhills is very popular with dog walkers, families and groups to attend due to the skate park, playpark and natural surroundings. I am keen for this to continue, however, alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour seems to be causing a problem, especially at the weekends and during the summer period.
“Respect for the community is required and I urge anyone using this area to use the bins and act sensibly when in the area. The park has a sufficient number of bins so there is no need to drop litter on the ground.
“Community constable Simon Fraser and I will be closely monitoring any incidents reported in the Laighhills and will be liaising with the community council in regards to any problem areas identified.”
Sergeant Young added: “I would also like to highlight again that drinking alcohol and dropping litter in public is an offence and that Central Scotland Police will not tolerate this.
“My first impression of Dunblane was that it’s a great place to live and work and, after four months, that has not changed. You can easily see that local residents, the community council, and police are working hard to make Dunblane worth visiting and living in.”
A spokesperson for Dunblane Community Council stressed: “We have been discussing the issue of a lack of reporting of anti-social behaviour within Dunblane. While we are lucky that the town does not suffer from a serious problem, it is important that residents and visitors report all such incidents otherwise the police have little evidence to work with.”
Police can be reached on 01786 456000. Information can be submitted anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.