Landlord is guarding his own property from louts

Loy Street in Cookstown
Loy Street in Cookstown

A Cookstown landlord has claimed nothing has been done to stamp out anti-social behaviour late at night in the Loy Hill area of the town.

Shane Beckett claimed there has been no improvement in the situation over the past year and described contact with the authorities as “like talking to a brick wall, no one is interested.”

Mr Beckett, who owns properties in the Loy Street area, says he has been “standing guard” himself to prevent young people from urinating and vomiting near his premises. Last year one of his tenants, a young girl, had to leave her flat because she could not take the noise and disturbance caused by revellers.

Another female tenant was left traumatised after a male broke into her accommodation before being apprehended by a police officer.

Young people bused in from other towns for Monday night entertainment during the school holidays are being blamed for the trouble.

“Basically what’s happening is Loy Hill is being used as a bus depot through from one o’clock to 2.30am. That’s were all the landing takes place,” said Mr. Beckett.

“Down in the main centre of the town there’s a dual carriageway and the buses could quite easily park there and let them get on and off.

“It’s flat and level and not at on the brow of a hill or junction with Fairhill.”

Mr Beckett continued: “The only time this will come to a head is when someone is killed. Whenever some poor lorry driver, driving within the speed limit, comes over the brow of the hill and is met by drunk people on their hands and knees crawling across the road.” Mr Beckett said Mid Ulster Council needed to enforce its litter law but is “nowhere to be seen at one o’clock in the morning. There needs to be zero tolerance, why should we have our town treated like this?”

He said that rather than taking decisive action the authorities were content to sit back and do nothing until the schools and colleges go back.

Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson said he had “the greatest sympathy” for Mr Beckett and his tenants living along Loy Street.

“This has been going on for far too long and something really needs to be done,” said Cllr Wilson. He said he would be raising the matter with the Policing and Community Safety Partnership, as the problem needed to be urgently resolved. “This is not just confined to Mr Beckett’s property as it goes down as far as the Methodist Manse and people deserve to live in peace and quiet.”

He called for “robust policing” to tackle the problem.

“Cookstown has a very vibrant nightlife economy and we want this to continue and the vast majority of people who come to the town behave themselves.”

A spokesman for Mid Ulster Council said: “I can confirm that the Council has no record of any current noise complaints from Mr Beckett regarding this area of Cookstown.”

A PSNI spokesperson said:

In July the PSNI said they had made four arrests in the town centre for public order offences.

They warned, in a Facebook post, anyone coming to Cookstown for entertainment at weekends and on Monday nights to behave or face the consequences.