A FUNCTION for young footballers and their parents has been overshadowed by an act of vandalism.
Members of Condorrat Boys Club learned that thugs had targeted the van of leading local butcher Paul Conway – the same man who has poured thousands of pounds of his own money into the club's two football teams.
Vandals smashed the windows of the Mercedes van outside the Pollock Halls at around 1am last Sunday following the social evening which Mr Conway helped to organise.
Parents have also called the role of Cumbernauld Police into question after officers turned up at the hall earlier in the evening to check that the venue had the required licence to host the event – but failed to turn their attention to what many viewed as a more pressing situation outwith the venue.
Claims were made that the officers failed to deal with a number of youths behaving suspiciously in the car park outside.
It is thought that the same individuals – some of whom are believed to be as young as 14 – went on to smash up the van.
It is understood that a number of parents became concerned about the louts lurking outside as the function got underway – but were taken aback when the visiting officers seemed more bothered by paperwork than reacting to an ongoing situation in their midst.
One parent, John Higney who lives in Westfield said that he told the group to "shift" after they were seen casing the vehicles parked outside – but to no avail.
He said he is dismayed both by the actions of the vandals and the police.
"Firstly it is a kick in the teeth from these thugs," said Mr Higney.
"You get someone like Paul putting money into these teams which isn't going to come from elsewhere. He makes a big difference in the community – then he gets his van panned.
"And no-one is telling me that people in Condorrat don't know who did this. Parents should be asking themselves what young teenagers are doing when they are out at 1am," he added.
"I also think it is just ridiculous when police are popping in to check whether a hall has the right licence, but can't be bothered to deal with teenagers who are hanging about outside the hall, drinking and causing trouble," said Mr Higney.
Mr Conway, who recently moved from Condorrat to Smithstone, said that he was reluctant to comment on the incident, but did admit that it had left him disillusioned.
He said: "My children have been brought up in Condorrat and I would be prepared to say that I love Condorrat – it's my second home."
"I thought the van would be safe there, but that was obviously not the case and it is very disheartening," he said.
Inspector John McTear of Cumbernauld Police said that officers had NOT been lax in their dealings at the event.
"We are issued with a list of different events and are obliged to go round and check if the venue has a licence to hold it," said the inspector.
"If parents approached officers about the situation with these individuals outside there is no record of it. We did not receive a callout until after 2am with regard to the van," added Inspector McTear.
"We have been conducting door-to-door enquiries about the incident and want to issue an appeal for witnesses.
"Anyone who knows anything about this incident can contact Cumbernauld Police on 503900. Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be called free and in confidence on 0800 555 111."