Teenager in­jured in park as­sault

An­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour is blamed on lack of ameni­ties

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Edel Ke­nealy

A teenager was se­ri­ously as­saulted in Cam­bus­lang Park on Sat­ur­day, June 4, as po­lice were called to a dis­tur­bance in­volv­ing 40 to 50 youths.

The 17- year- old lo­cal boy sus­tained a head in­jury af­ter he was, the Re­former un­der­stands, hit on the head with a glass bot­tle.

In­spec­tor Jim Gille­spie, of Ruther­glen Po­lice Sta­tion, said en­quiries were con­tin­u­ing sur­round­ing the as­sault, which took place at around 8.40pm.

Com­ment­ing on the an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour, In­spec­tor Gille­spie added: “A 14-year-old girl was charged with al­leged dis­or­derly con­duct and a large group of youths were dis­persed and moved on.

“Th e re have been ad­di­tional po­lice pa­trols within the park and sur­round­ing area and this will con­tinue through­out the sum­mer months. I would en­cour­age mem­bers of the pub­lic to re­port any acts of dis­or­der or anti- so­cial be­hav­iour by contacting po­lice on the 101 num­ber.”

The se­ri­ous as­sault of the teenager has in­spired a Cam­bus­lang girl to launch a cam­paign call­ing for more ac­tiv­i­ties for teenagers.

Al­most 300 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion call­ing for bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties for teenagers in Cam­bus­lang as dozens of youths are ac­cused of trash­ing the town’s park.

Launched by 19- year- old Robyn Feeney on Mon­day, the pe­ti­tion calls on South La­nark­shire Coun­cil, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and lo­cal com­mu­nity to work to­gether to pro­vide an out­let for 12 to 18 year olds in the evenings and at week­ends.

Robyn, from Half­way, started the pe­ti­tion af­ter a fight broke out in Cam­bus­lang Park on Sat­ur­day night when a boy al­legedly had a glass bot­tle smashed in his face.

The fight was break­ing point for many lo­cals who have seen the park fall vic­tim to an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour and un­der­age drink­ing in re­cent weeks.

Robyn, who walks her dog in Cam­bus­lang Park al­most ev­ery day, says she finds the park strewn with lit­ter and bro­ken bot­tles on Sun­day morn­ings.

She told the Re­former: “It’s about time some­thing was done to change the per­cep­tion of young peo­ple in Cam­bus­lang and also for lo­cal of­fi­cials to help put some­thing in place for 12 to 18 year olds that may stop them see­ing the pub­lic park as the only op­tion for en­ter­tain­ment at a week­end.

“Of course im­proved fa­cil­i­ties is not go­ing to stop ev­ery sin­gle teen in Cam­bus­lang, some will drink any­way, but it will stop as many of them do­ing what they are do­ing in the park on a weekly ba­sis.”

Robyn, who wants to be­gin teacher train­ing in Septem­ber, said it was im­por­tant young peo­ple con­tin­ued to en­joy the park and en­cour­aged teens to come for­ward with ideas for ac­tiv­i­ties they would like to do in their spare time.

Robyn’s views have been shared by many peo­ple in Cam­bus­lang, both young and old.

Mother of two Rhona Clearie lives in the nearby Tanzieknowe Drive and also uses the park ev­ery day to walk the fam­ily dog.

Ex­plain­ing the prob­lem at the park has wors­ened since school leavers fin­ished for ex­ams, Rhona said: “I have never seen any­thing like this be­fore.

“There are groups that are happy to sit and speak to their pals but there are youths around the band­stand and their in­ten­tion is to come to the park to get drunk.”

Stat­ing a so­lu­tion to the prob­lem is ur­gently needed, Rhona added: “This sit­u­a­tion is high­light­ing the lack of ameni­ties in the lo­cal area for th­ese chil­dren.

“I would like ev­ery­one to come to­gether, Univer­sal Con­nec­tions said they would help, there’s Friends of Cam­bus­lang Park - they do an in­cred­i­ble job at the park and have many vol­un­teers - and Project 31 do stuff there.

“It would be good to get th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions to­gether and in­volve the kids.

“Per­haps th­ese kids could tell the or­gan­i­sa­tions what they want to do, what they want brought into their com­mu­nity. We can’t speak on be­half of th­ese kids, but, as adults, we may have the con­tacts and knowl­edge to get what they are look­ing for.”

Daniel Lowe, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil, said: “The coun­cil’s com­mu­nity war­den ser­vice reg­u­larly pa­trols in and around Cam­bus­lang Park on foot and with spe­cial­ist CCTV ve­hi­cles in or­der to de­tect and pre­vent an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour.

“The ser­vice has been aware of is­sues over the last 5-6 weeks and pa­trols have been in­creased in the area.

“The ser­vice will con­tinue to li­aise closely with Po­lice Scot­land and other part­ners to share in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing is­sues of an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour and dis­or­der, and if those re­spon­si­ble for van­dal­ism or dis­or­der are iden­ti­fied then the An­ti­so­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Team will in­ves­ti­gate and take ac­tion as ap­pro­pri­ate.”

Pe­ti­tion Robyn Feeney, left, and Rhona Clearie are call­ing for more fa­cil­i­ties for Cam­bus­lang teens

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