VANDALS who targeted the newly refurbished gap site in Bellshill town centre have been condemned.
The local community council called for action after concerns were raised about anti-social behaviour at James Dempsey Way.
A number of street lights have been damaged at the area, which has become a popular meeting point for youths.
Tom Taylor, chairman of Bellshill Community Council, said: “The community council was approached by some local people to ask for help in having the area cleaned up and the damage fixed.
“We have informed the local council and liaised with the community safety department at Bellshill Police Office, which has resulted in all of the lights being fixed.
“I am delighted to see the police taking a stance against the individuals responsible and hope with regular patrols they are making in the town centre area this will make a difference.”
Area Commander, Chief Inspector Alex Graham, condemned the vandals.
He said: “This area has undergone a full refurbishment by the local authority and has had many great features added including benches, lighting, paving and marble.
“I am appalled that we are seeing vandalism at the site and are having youths causing concern to our businesses and community.
“I am shocked to see that people are having no respect for an area which has had a great deal of money spent on it to give the local people somewhere nice to go and sit.
“I have highlighted the issue to the local community police officers who will be keeping a close eye on the situation and will deal with any acts of anti-social behaviour very seriously.”
A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council added: “James Dempsey Way was part of a major regeneration scheme for Bellshill, which has largely been very well received and used by local residents.
“It is disappointing that this space, named in memory of a man who served the town for so many years, has been subject to vandalism.
“North Lanarkshire Council joins the police and the community council in asking members of the public to be vigilant and to report any misuse of the area; and we urge those responsible for the vandalism to have some respect both for the area and for the other people who want to make use of it.”