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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

County Antrim beauty spot dogged with ongoing complaints of a sexual nature

A County Antrim beauty spot is continuing to be dogged with issues of antisocial behaviour that has caused concern for both local residents and visitors alike.

According to the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council website, Tardree Forest, popular with both dog walkers and cyclists, “hosts a healthy wildlife population with numerous bird species present. The forest also provides a place of relaxation and recreation for many visitors, offering panoramic views over County Antrim and Lough Neagh.”

But in recent months police and council representatives have been receiving complaints of a different type of ‘wildlife’ at the forest, that include allegations of ‘sexual shenanigans and goings-on’ in the natural open-air environment.

Speaking to Love Ballymena, police confirmed that Antrim Neighbourhood Policing Team have been working in conjunction with Forestry Services and local Elected Council Members to address issues of ‘antisocial behaviour’ in the Tardree Forest area of Antrim.

PSNI Neighbourhood Sergeant Tate said:

"Police are aware of concerns raised by residents and those using the forest for recreational walks and activities about suspicious activity and anti-social behaviour.

"Officers have regularly patrolled the area to provide reassurance and have conducted other operational activity to deter and detect criminal activity.

"During patrols, police have on occasion issued Community Resolution Notices for indecency offences.”

Sergeant Tate continued: "Posters have been placed on trees in the Forest highlighting how members of the public can contact Police to report inappropriate behaviour using 101 or 999. Anonymous reporting can be completed using the Crimestoppers Charity on 0800 555 111.

"We would like to reassure the public that Antrim Neighbourhood Policing Team will continue in their efforts to reduce the anti-social behaviour and work with our partners to make Tardree Forest a welcome environment for everyone."

A number of local reports indicate that a makeshift shelter was constructed in the forest, where forest workers discovered a number of sex-related items.

A number of local councillors have been contacted by residents, concerned by the activity.

DUP Alderman Linda Clarke commented:

“I have been working with the local neighbourhood police in regards to the antisocial behaviour that has been going on in the area of Tardree.

“I am glad the police are taking an active role in the area.

“This is not the sort of behaviour local residents, walkers with families, and cyclists want to see in the area.

“I hope the work continues to put an end to this behaviour at Tardree Forest.”

UUP Alderman Paul Michael BEM has also welcomed police actions after latest reports of indecent activities and exposure at Tardree Forest. Ald Michael stated “there is no place for such actions and the full weight of the law should be imposed”.

Love Ballymena approached Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for comment. A spokeswoman for the local authority said:

“This is an issue for the PSNI.”


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