Cookstown becoming the ‘toilet of Tyrone’

Signage destroyed outside the Camera + shop in Cookstown
Signage destroyed outside the Camera + shop in Cookstown

A landlord has said his tenants have suffered enough and decisive action must be taken before Cookstown becomes the “Toilet of Tyrone.”

Shane Beckett, who owns properties at Loy Street, said the various agencies responsible for dealing with late night revellers in this part of the town needed to stop “passing the buck” and do something.

Young people being bussed in from other towns for Monday night entertainment have been causing sleepless nights for scores of residents during the summer months.

Back in June the PSNI described the scenes as “despicable” and imposed 20 sanctions for anti-social behaviour. They warned that they would crackdown on anyone involved in such behaviour.

Mid Ulster Council has tried to help the situation by allowing their Loy Street car park to remain open to take the buses off the main road.

But Mr Beckett, who said he is regularly called out by his tenants in the early hours of the morning, has made a ‘formal complaint’ to the agencies accusing them of “failure and incompetence.”

He stressed people “who have to go to work in the morning” still lived along James Street, Loy Street and Fairhill Road and they were bracing themselves for tonight’s (Thursday) celebrations with the release of ‘A’ Level results.

Mr Beckett claimed the buses are not using the car park and were still parking along the street.

In his complaint he wrote: “What do we pay rates and taxes for? It’s certainly not for intelligent management of this disgusting situation.

“How much longer do we have to put up with our homes and properties being used as a public toilet and an open sewer.

“Is Cookstown to be regarded as the ‘Toilet of Tyrone’? My front door is frequently used as a urinal in broad daylight when the drunken scum get off their booze buses.”

He added that professional management and control of the situation would provide a civilised environment in which the local residents could live and enjoy their homes.

Pascal Diamond, who owns Camera +, had signage destroyed outside his Loy Street shop last week. It’s the second time he’s had property damaged.

“I caught on CCTV a guy getting on a bus carrying my sign,” said Mr Diamond, who reported the incident to the police.

“I don’t know how people live here at night,” he went on. “The vandalism and anti-social behaviour are unbelievable. A woman living across the road from the shop woke up to find someone trying to get into the house. At least I can turn the key in the lock and go home at night.”

Local Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson said the PSNI needed to pay attention to these areas of Cookstown, particularly where the buses are located.

“I can fully understand the frustration of tenants and householders,” he said. “I have witnessed the mindless behaviour myself that goes on and it’s not acceptable. We owe it to the people living here to bring it to an end.”

Chief Inspector Mervyn Seffen told the Mail: “The night time economy is an important part of the Mid Ulster economy and police have worked closely with the local PCSP and other partners to ensure that all affected by such events have a safe environment.

“Throughout the policing of these events police take a robust approach in regards to any offences reported or detected, including delivering an innovative alcohol education programme to our young people.

“Police have privately responded to the concerns raised by Mr Beckett and have invited him to the next meeting of the Interagency Night Time Economy Forum.”

A spokesperson for the Council added: “Mid Ulster District Council, along with other agencies, has received a complaint from Mr Beckett regarding incidents in Cookstown town centre. Council departments are looking into this complaint and will be responding to Mr Beckett in due course.”