Drugs and dogging at local park claims parent

Kinallen Play Park �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1534-222EB
Kinallen Play Park �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1534-222EB

Parents bringing children to Kinallen park risk exposing them to scenes of drink and drugs taking and spectator sex, it was claimed this week.

Aware of concerns about anti-social behaviour and drugs, police say they have had no reports of illegal sexual activity.

But one local man, who did not want to be named, said he encountered a couple having sex during daylight hours, and was shocked to later learn of the supposed prevalence of ‘dogging’ in the park.

The term refers to the practise of driving to secluded areas to have, and/or watch, sex with strangers.

“It was not that dark that people wouldn’t still be going up with their kids,” said the man of his encounter, during which he was subjected to abuse, he said, by the couple concerned.

“But young people, in their late teens and early 20s, are going up there in cars and drinking, using drugs and even having sex.

“In the meantime, police are having to come from Lurgan and that can take half an hour or more.”

Himself a parent, he said the park was often littered with used condoms as well as discarded tinfoil that, alarmingly, his own young son was able to tell him was “for when they are taking drugs”.

One woman, he said, routinely visited the park in the mornings to clean up with a litter grabber.

Police, meanwhile, said they had been addressing issues within the Kinallen and Dromore areas, including anti-social behaviour related to young people in the parks.

Said Chief Inspector Paul Reid: “Police have regularly patrolled the area, both in vehicles and on foot, to provide reassurance and have conducted other operational activity to deter and detect criminal activity.

“Although no reports of any illegal sexual activity in this area have been received by police, anyone found to be committing offences will be dealt with robustly and, where appropriate, brought before the courts.

“I am aware of concerns about illegal drugs in the area but I want to reassure the community that we take the issue very seriously and as a Police Service are doing everything possible to disrupt the supply of drugs and bring those involved before the courts.

Mr Reid said drug arrests across the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon areas were up by 25%, drug seizures up by over 12%.

Police, he said, worked closely with the local community, which he thanked for its support.

He appealed to anyone with information to call police on the non-emergency number 101 or contact the charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.