MEMBERS of a bowling club in Renfrew are appealing for more CCTV coverage in the area after being targeted by vandals.

The plea comes after a recent spate of wilful fireraising, vandalism and littering at Robertson Park Bowling Club.

Police stepped up patrols at a nearby skatepark last month amid reports that unruly teenagers have been gathering there to take drink and drugs.

Jim Coyle, secretary of Robertson Park Bowling Club, said there have been many acts of vandalism involving youths over the past five months.

“It started at the end of May, when they knocked over the bins so all the debris was flung onto the green,” he told The Gazette.

“They’ve pulled pipes off the walls, stolen rink markers and, last month, they set a wheelie bin and a barrel on fire right next to the building.

“Our bench which sits outside the clubhouse was thrown over a fence and it took four OAPs to move it back to where it was.”

The bowling club, which reopened at the end of June as coronavirus restrictions were eased, currently has a membership of around 80 but there are fears that number could plummet unless action is taken to tackle the vandalism.

Mr Coyle said: “A lot of members haven’t come to play this year, primarily because of Covid but I think the vandalism has also contributed a little bit.

“Some of our members are now scared to play on the green that backs onto the skatepark.

“There have been bottles and bits of skateboard flung over onto the green when we’ve been playing on Saturday afternoons and, recently, one of the missiles nearly hit one of our members.

“We try not to react to them but it’s clear now that they’re targeting the bowling club as it’s entertainment for them.

“We’ve contacted Renfrewshire Council about getting CCTV installed, as we think it would act as a good deterrent, but they are reluctant to do that because of issues around data protection.”

Inspector Allan O’Hare, head of community policing for Renfrewshire, said he is aware of complaints about the behaviour of some visitors to Robertson Park.

“We are working closely with our partners in Renfrewshire Council to increase patrols of police, wardens and the youth engagement team to assist in addressing concerns from the community,” he added.

A spokesperson for Renfrewshire Council said: “We are already working on plans to install CCTV in Robertson Park, which we hope to have in place for some time next year.

“It will be funded through Renfrewshire’s share of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund and will be part of a wider project which will also deliver additional lighting and waymaking through the park.

“This is part of a series of outdoor improvements and building restoration projects in Renfrew, Johnstone and Paisley.

“In the meantime, our wardens service will continue to make regular patrols of the park, as they do most evenings, to keep an eye on any issues.”

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