Police call time on playpark pests

Mess left behind by late night drinkers is blighting local beauty spots.

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Drinking and anti-social behaviour in and around playparks will not be tolerated say the council and police.

Recent complaints about noise, drinking and mess at public spaces on weekdays and weekends have led to Oban police stepping up patrols in affected areas while the local authority says the lack of prohibitive notices is no defence for breaking bylaws.

Chief Inspector Marlene Baillie said: ‘We are committed to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities to keep people safe.

‘As a result of recent complaints, we are stepping up patrols whilst linking in with partners in an effort to provide additional measures to prevent and deter such activities.’

Oban residents fed up with the late night shenanigans told The Oban Times: ‘We complain so much about the terrible things the tourists do, but the locals are not blameless.

‘Every weekend since the start of lockdown and some weekdays there have been youths partying at some playparks.

‘We don’t mind the young people gathering to socialise but when they were breaking lockdown to do so, getting drunk and being so loud they were waking younger children trying to sleep in their own homes it gets a bit much.

‘It often goes on until after midnight and once until 3am.’

What residents mind more than anything, however, is the mess that is left behind.

‘Why should we have to clear up after them the next morning, time after time?,’ they say.

‘Dog walkers are good about taking something away with them, but why should we have to do this? If we didn’t, these much-used areas would not impress our visitors.’

Concerns were also raised over the lack of signs warning that there are park bylaws which prohibit alcohol consumption and that this could lead the offenders to believe  what they are doing is okay.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: ‘Police Scotland have powers to disperse groups displaying anti-social behaviour. This can be reported by phoning 101. Concerns about littering can be reported to the council on our website: Report It (argyll-bute.gov.uk)

‘It shall be no defence in proceedings against a person for an offence under these byelaws that the council has not erected signage giving notice of the effect of the byelaws.’

Details of areas covered by the council’s public drinking byelaws are available on the website Public drinking byelaws (argyll-bute.gov.uk).

Chief Inspector Baillie added: ‘We are acutely aware of the upset that any form of anti-social behaviour can have in our communities. I would ask anyone who is aware of such an incident occurring to contact Police Scotland on 101.’