CCTV images are being trawled to unmask the members of the ‘mindless minority’ whose behaviour is threatening a £1 million town centre refurbishment.
The grounds of Falkirk Old and St Modan’s Church in the heart of the town’s High Street have been a magnet for antisocial behaviour following its recent makeover.
Frustrated church and council officials say a new bench has been destroyed and bollards have been knocked down by a minority of people who use the public area as a drinking den.
The church grounds, which are now used for public events like this year’s Earth Hour, are being spoiled by litter and used into an open-air toilet.
Church centre manager Morag Mackay said: “A lot of money has been spent on the refurbishment but, as is the case with so many things, a few are spoiling it for the rest.
“A great deal of effort has gone in to making something beautiful, a lovely green space to be used by everyone in their town centre. The aim was for people to take ownership of the area and have pride in it.”
Provost Pat Reid said: “We have invested around a million pounds of public money on the refurbishment of the churchyard and the work has generated a lot of pride and interest from residents and visitors to the town.
“The vandalism carried out by a mindless minority is shocking and an insult to the town.”
He added a warning. “We are optimistic that the criminals will be caught, sending out a message that this area belongs to the people of Falkirk and any interference or nuisance will not be tolerated,” he said.
The refurbishment was carried with the involvement of various groups including the church, Falkirk Council, Central Scotland Police and town centre management BID group Falkirk Delivers.
Falkirk Delivers chairperson Corrie Cuthbertson said: “Falkirk Delivers worked closely with Falkirk Council and Central Scotland Police to deliver the fantastic environmental benefits of this project which has really changed the look and feel of the historic heart of our town.
“It’s a shame that a small minority choose to target an area that is now enjoyed by so many visitors to the town and is in fact an attraction in its own right.
“While Falkirk Delivers is disappointed to learn about issues in the Old Parish Church grounds, I’m fully confident that by working with our partners including the police and using the new CCTV camera we will be able to monitor this valuable area.
“I would urge anyone with information to get in touch with either ourselves or the police.”
Town centre community officer Billy Tortora confirmed police were checking CCTV images. He added: “This is antisocial behaviour and we are working to catch those responsible.”