BARRHEAD community chiefs say people are living in fear due to unreported vandalism and youth disorder in the town, writes Monica Gibson.

Rosaleen Reilly, chairwoman of Barrhead Community Council, said she was aware of several recent incidents carried out by large groups of youngsters in the town centre – but was shocked to hear many had not been flagged up to local police.

Mrs Reilly said: “Youth vandalism is a real problem.

“I witnessed a group of about 30 boys and girls congregating in Cross Arthurlie Street and they started poking out the monoblocks and throwing them about.

“There is nothing wrong with young folk meeting up but, once they start vandalising the place, it becomes a problem.

“I will say it can be a bit intimidating when there is such a large group. I know one lady who wouldn’t go out to get her granddaughter some ice-cream because she was frightened.

“If the police do come, the kids scatter but, for every 10 that go down one street, another 20 come back up.”

Mrs Reilly has called on the public to help tackle the problem by alerting police if they witness anti-social behaviour.

She told the Barrhead News: “People need to be prepared to speak up to make sure Barrhead remains the type of place we want to live in.

“If there is a problem with the youths having nothing to do, something can be done to help.”

Inspector John McQuilter, of Police Scotland, echoed Mrs Reilly’s appeal.

He said: “When we go to community council meetings and say ‘these are the stats’, we are often met with a bit of disbelief from local residents.

“When we speak to people, they mention an incident and we ask if they reported it and are told ‘no, we didn’t want to waste your time’ or ‘it wasn’t worth phoning in’.

“It is much better if we are told about incidents at the time and not in passing, weeks later.

“We can plot things, look back at previous incidents and have analytics on hand that might be useful in solving future cases.

“We want people to be comfortable that they are not wasting our time. We would always encourage people to phone 101 where it is something suspicious or just out of the ordinary.”