Aug 12 2010 by Chris Clements, Hamilton Advertiser
A YOUNG father has expressed his concern over teenagers drinking in a wooded area near his home.
Andrew O’Rourke (27) lives with his partner Selina (29) and three-year-old daughter Molly in Hamilton’s Burnblea Gardens.
Mr O’Rourke has always seen the street as a quiet area, and a great place to raise children.
However, he is now worried over youngsters drinking nearby at the weekend.
The father-of-one has lived in the street all his life, buying his old family home recently to live with Selina and Molly.
He hit out this week at South Lanarkshire Council, claiming that he has asked for debris left behind by the youths to be cleared.
Despite his pleas, he said, the area is still strewn with rubbish.
Mr O’Rourke added that police could be doing more to dissuade the youngsters from drinking there.
He said: “A guy from the council came to see us over our litter concerns at the wooded area behind the Evangelical Church in nearby Selkirk Street.
“The kids who do it aren’t from around here, but they are down there drinking nearly every Friday and Saturday.
“My partner and I will come home on a Friday evening about 6pm and we’ll spot them walking through Burnblea Gardens, holding their carry-outs.
“They are already drinking by then, and that’s them there for the whole night after that.”
He continued: “We’ve contacted the police as well.
“A couple of community safety officers came out to talk to us about the problem and told us about their anti-social behaviour campaigns.
“They have been down to chase the kids off a couple of times and the police do sit there for maybe 30 minutes afterwards.
“But as soon as they are away, the kids are back again.”
Mr O’Rourke explained that, although council workers made an effort to clear the youngsters’ empty bottles and bags, the area is still a tip.
The technician said: “There is a lot of rubbish and debris down there such as plastic bags, boxes and empty glass bottles.
“I spoke to land services at the council about it and sent them some pictures.
“There was some of it cleaned up last week but it just keeps getting worse.
“The council even cut away foliage earlier this year so that the area was a bit more exposed and those drinking didn’t have many places to hide. But it doesn’t make much of a difference.
“More should be done to keep them away.”
He added: “I don’t want to end up being a target for these youths.
“If they found out it was me phoning the cops, they would probably end up tanning my motor.
“But when I take my daughter through there in the evenings, I want to feel safe. I don’t want to feel intimidated.
“I have lived here all my life and it is quiet and with no traffic. It has always been a great area for children, but not when these youths are drinking nearby.”
A council spokesman said this week that the area had been cleared recently.
“We will continue to monitor the situation,” she added.
A Strathclyde Police spokesman confirmed that they had received calls from Mr O’Rourke over concerns about youths drinking nearby.
Inspector Gillian Scott added: “Anti-social behaviour is a particular focus for my officers, as these types of crimes can seriously affect people's quality of life and create misery for communities.
“I would ask any resident who is experiencing such problems to contact myself and my officers directly, so that we can look to create a solution.
“We liaise very closely with our partners in South Lanarkshire Council to try to form a partnership approach to dealing with antisocial behaviour.”
Anyone concerned about anti-social behaviour in their area should contact Hamilton Police Office 01698 483300.