Parkour coach hits out at teen firebug
Sentence for wrecking park branded‘ disgraceful’
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