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Forres Community Woodlands Trust asks teenagers to stop using Sanquhar mountain bike trails hut for parties

By Garry McCartney

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The hut at Sanquhar has been damaged by teens who often leave empty cans and bottles there.
The hut at Sanquhar has been damaged by teens who often leave empty cans and bottles there.

LOCAL volunteers and residents are calling for youths gathering at a woodland shelter to party elsewhere.

At a meeting of Forres Community Council (FCC), Forres Community Woodlands Trust (FCWT) chairman Donald Wright raised the issue of antisocial behaviour at the Sanquhar mountain bike trails hut at weekends, including damage and disturbance.

He said: “The hut is now 15-years-old and was paid for with public money through grants.

“We’ve spent lots of time and more money on it since then as it’s been damaged and debris including broken bottles has been left there which has to be removed.”

He added: “Recently a second hut made of timber and tarpaulin was put up to the east of the coffin field in a heavily wooded area. It had a sofa and a bench in it as well as an open fire. Cladding had been taken from the original hut which had to be repaired.

“We spoke to the police so the second hut was demolished and volunteers took the debris to the dump.

“We are concerned now about a campaign to get the remaining hut removed, which we don’t want to happen. We just want the youths to respect it and party elsewhere.”

FCC chairwoman Kathleen Robertson highlighted the fact that there are few indoor spaces left in Forres for youths to gather socially and suggested education was key to solving the issue.

FCC treasurer Graham Murdoch added: “Kids will always gather somewhere. By moving them on, you’re just shifting the problem.”

Member of the public Frank Byrne asked where the youngsters, some of whom are believed to be teenagers, get their alcohol.

Fellow audience member Kevin Skivington replied: “According to social media, some of the time it’s bought by parents.”

FCWT secretary, Gisela MacFarquhar, admitted the group appreciates the concerns and the need for a place where young people can gather.

She said: “Sanquhar residents complain about antisocial behaviour, particularly when youths pass on their way to the shelter. The youngsters play loud music and leave broken glass, cans and plastic waste. There are also concerns that their fires could get out of control. We encourage residents to call the police with concerns.

“We ask the youths to please respect property, reduce their noise and remove their litter.”

Gisela also confirmed that the hut the youths built themselves was dismantled for safety reasons.

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