Vandals damage The Cornfield Project

Some of the rubbish gathered up at the Cornfield outdoor classroom from the incident the night beforeSome of the rubbish gathered up at the Cornfield outdoor classroom from the incident the night before
Some of the rubbish gathered up at the Cornfield outdoor classroom from the incident the night before
The custodians of the Cornfield Project in Coleraine have been left outraged after discovering the outdoor classroom was being used by under-age drinkers last week.

The Cornfield Project, the National Flagship Site for Grow Wild a Kew Gardens Initiative, is a recreational space for adults and children incorporating the Men’s Shed, nd providing outdoor space of natural beauty between the Ballysally and Millburn housing estates.

However, the area has been the target of vandalism in recent times. A large polytunnel had been damaged and wooden raised beds set on fire.

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Last week it was the turn of under-age drinkers to plague the site.

Billy Ellis, Community Outreach Worker from Millburn Community Association, said: “I was alerted by a few different residents that there was a crowd of youths drinking at the Cornfield. When I arrived there, I saw a group of approximately 13 young people drinking alcohol at the outdoor classroom area within the woods.

“They were accompanied by two adults in their forties who should know better than to be drinking with young people. Obviously, there was no social distancing rules being observed, but it was disturbing to find the adults sitting drinking and smoking with the group. I informed the group that the PSNI had been called and they quickly moved on. The PSNI have been contacted and CCTV and video evidence has been handed over to the police.

“After this incident, The Cornfield Project decided that during this pandemic we would remove the outdoor learning space so to not encourage people using it as an illegal drinking den.”

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The area has now been cleared up of all the empty bottles tins and improvised drug taking vessels which were left behind and the outdoor classroom seating area was taken down.

Mr Ellis addedd: “It is disheartening that there is a small element who think they can use the site in this manner drinking and taking drugs, then leaving the mess behind endangering the children who run about the site enjoying it as it should. However once we get back to normality we will rebuild this area for when the groups are ready.”

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