Skate park hit as youths mourn teen

Destruction and littering at the skatepark in Newtongrange Welfare Park.

Destruction and littering at the skatepark in Newtongrange Welfare Park.

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Newtongrange Welfare Park was badly vandalised after dozens of youths gathered to mourn tragic teen Shellie Callaghan after her funeral.

Around 20-30 youths were in the park on Friday, October 28, after attending the funeral of the Newtongrange 16-year-old, who died from a suspected drugs overdose on October 15.

Hours later the skate park area was hit by fires, bins being emptied and smashed glass.

Newtongrange Community Council chairman Jason Ferry was one of the youth workers called out to speak to the young people in the park.

He said the damage was disappointing but was out of the ordinary, adding that emotions were running high after the funeral and alcohol was a factor.

There were up to 30 young people at the park and Mr Ferry said a small number were clearly under the influence.

“When the call came into the police, myself and three colleagues went down – we were just there to provide support and speak to the young people,” he said, adding that they were in good spirits and there was no damage at that time.

Dot Horne MBE, of Newtongrange Community First, the group that delivered the skate park in 2014, hoped this was an isolated incident.

As the majority of young people in the village treated the skate park well, she did not want them being tarred by this incident.

She said of more concern was where the young people were getting alcohol.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman local officers had been made aware of concerns by residents of anti-social behaviour by youths in the Welfare Park on October 28 and there would be increased high-visibility patrols over the forthcoming weeks to deter and detect any further incidents.