Park­our coach hits out at teen fire­bug

Sen­tence for wreck­ing park branded‘ dis­grace­ful’

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News - An­drew Bargh

A park­our coach has slammed the com­mu­ni­ty­based sen­tence given to the teenage lout who de­stroyed the award-win­ning fa­cil­ity in Coat­bridge’s West End park.

Last week at Air­drie Sher­iff Court the yob – who the Ad­ver­tiser can­not name be­cause he is un­der 18 – was or­dered to carry out 135 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice for de­lib­er­ately set­ting the fire last June which caused more than £50,000 of dam­age.

Park­our pi­o­neer Peter McKee la­belled the 17-year-old’s pun­ish­ment “dis­grace­ful” and said: “I think it’s dis­gust­ing that some­one would ruin some­thing that is so ben­e­fi­cial to the com­mu­nity and took a lot of hard work to get in the first place.

“One hun­dred and thirty five hours is ab­so­lutely dis­grace­ful and I would have ex­pected them to come down a lot harder on him to set an ex­am­ple and prevent peo­ple from ru­in­ing what lit­tle we do have in Coat­bridge for the kids.”

As well as de­stroy­ing the park­our fa­cil­ity the teenager also com­mit­ted rob­beries and break-ins at premises across Mon­k­lands. In March he broke into the Ice­land store in Air­drie, be­fore tar­get­ing Coat­bridge’s Home Bar­gains and BP garage on April 21 and May 1 re­spec­tively.

In court last Wed­nes­day the procu­ra­tor fis­cal ex­plained: “At 11.29pm, the alarm sounded at Ice­land and CCTV showed a hooded fig­ure en­ter­ing the shop af­ter smash­ing a win­dow.

“He took mainly al­co­hol and crisps and the to­tal amount of dam­age reached £1514.74.

“There was blood left at the scene which was traced back to the ac­cused and he was de­tained on June 5.”

The fis­cal con­tin­ued: “The value of the items stolen at Home Bar­gains to­talled £ 9 and none of it was re­cov­ered. At BP, £17.69 was taken and £8 was re­cov­ered.”

Speak­ing for his client, de­fence solic­i­tor Fraser McKin­non told the court: “Al­co­hol has played a part in all of these in­ci­dents.

“It demon­strates im­ma­tu­rity on his part as not only is he too young to drink but also too young to un­der­stand the con­se­quences.

“He recog­nises his guilt though and the re­port sug­gests a re­stric­tion of lib­erty or­der would be ben­e­fi­cial.

“He is a vul­ner­a­ble per­son who is sus­cep­ti­ble to peer pres­sure and needs a sta­ble home.”

Of the West End park fire, he con­tin­ued: “No­body ex­pected the fire to take hold. Some al­co­hol was spilled on the ground and my client was egged on by friends to light it.

“This again demon­strates his in­ca­pa­bil­ity of un­der­stand­ing the con­se­quences of his ac­tions.

“He recog­nises his is­sues now though and is ready for a re­stric­tion of lib­erty and un­paid work. My view is that he would ben­e­fit from this struc­ture.”

Sher­iff Frank Pieri gave the yob an anx­ious five-minute wait be­fore spar­ing him a spell be­hind bars.

He told him: “What you did at West End park caused lasting dam­age to the com­mu­nity. The only rea­son you’re not go­ing into cus­tody to­day is be­cause of your young age.

“You will be un­der su­per­vi­sion for two years, with your first re­view in two months. You will also be un­der a re­stric­tion of lib­erty or­der for a to­tal of eight months.

“For the first five of those, you will re­main in your home ev­ery night be­tween the hours of 7pm to 7am, and for the fi­nal three months this will ap­ply to week­ends only.

“You will also carry out 135 hours of un­paid work over the next six months.

“This is an al­ter­na­tive to cus­tody so if you breach your or­der you know ex­actly what to ex­pect.”

Dev­as­ta­tion The fire de­stroyed the award-win­ning fa­cil­ity

Blaze The yob de­lib­er­ately set the fire last June

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