Appeal as young louts cause trouble in Magherafelt cemetery

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A Magherafelt councillor has said the town’s Polepatrick Park and Cemetery is a place of solemnity and reflection for townspeople and should remain that way.

Appealing to parents to play a role in preventing anti-social behaviour at the Castledawson Road site, DUP councillor Paul McLean said the community should do everything it can to discourage it.

“With the clearer evenings there’s the temptation for young people to congregate in areas of the town like Polepatrick,” he said.

“They must not be allowed to spoil it for others and I would urge everyone to be vigilant and report any anti-social behaviour they see to the local police.”

He added that there is an onus on Mid Ulster Council to take action.

His comments follows reports of flowers being removed from graves, littering, drinking and other loutish behaviour at the popular attraction in recent weeks.

Magherafelt PSNI have taken to social media in an effort to head off future incidents.

“This is not a place for young people to gather to drink and cause trouble,” they said in a Facebook posting.

“By its very name, it is a place which deserves respect. We’ve had reports of antisocial behaviour again over the weekend – including someone relieving themselves in a hedge.

“Absolutely disgusting, I’m sure you’ll agree.

“Folks, in order for us to tackle this, we need you to report it to us. Any offences will be dealt with robustly. Parents, we need your help too.

“Know what your kids are at and who they’re with.

“Remind them that all it takes is one bad decision and it could follow them around for a lifetime on a criminal record.”

A spokesperson for Mid Ulster Council said: “We’re not aware of any incidents of anti-social behaviour at Polepatrick Cemetery / Park in Magherafelt.

“If anyone has any information on such incidents we would encourage them to contact us directly.”