FED-UP parents are calling for action to help families ‘reclaim’ a Barrhead Park from teenage tearaways.

The problems at Cowan Park are said to be so bad that some mums are now too scared to take their young kids there.

Last week, emergency crews were called to the park twice within the space of 24 hours to extinguish fires that had been started deliberately.

Those acts of vandalism destroyed two picnic benches and have led to concerns that the popular green space is now becoming a no-go zone for families.

Gail MacDonald, 54, who lives nearby, said the behaviour of some teenagers in the park is getting out of hand.

She told the Barrhead News: “Mums are worried about taking their kids to the park now as there can be big groups of folk hanging about and it can be quite intimidating.

“Putting the vandalism aside, the language that is being used is driving people away.

“Someone needs to deal with this and get it under control before it gets any worse.”

Both of last week’s fires took place at around 1am, with residents in neighbouring houses alerting the emergency services.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “I can confirm that police were in attendance at two fires on Darnley Road, Barrhead, on May 29 and 30.

“On May 29, we had one pump in attendance, along with police officers. The following night, two pumps attended the scene, where an object was on fire. This was classed as a secondary fire.”

Secondary fires are those involving grassland, hedges, trees and outdoor structures, including outdoor furniture and playground equipment.

The benches that were set on fire have now been removed by East Renfrewshire Council.

Those living near Cowan Park are asking for more help to tackle problem behaviour in the area.

Many have taken to social media, calling for patrols in the evenings and overnight, or for CCTV cameras to be installed to improve security.

A spokesperson for East Renfrewshire Council said: “It is extremely disappointing that mindless vandals have destroyed these benches, which were only installed recently, as we continually aim to enhance the facilities available in Cowan Park.

“We would urge all residents to report any suspicious activity to the police and also remind people of the dangers involved when taking part in this type of senseless behaviour.”

A spokesman for East Renfrewshire Police added: “We were in attendance at Cowan Park in the early hours of the morning. A park bench had been set on fire and enquiries are ongoing into what we believe to be wilful fireraising.

“We would appeal to anyone who might have seen anything to contact the police on 101 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“We are aware that acts of this nature occur from time to time and we will continue routine patrols in the area.”