Security at Derry’s City Cemetery is to be stepped up after reports of youths using the new part of the graveyard as a drinking den.
A multi-agency response is now being pieced together to tackle the problems being experienced at the Lone Moor Road end of the cemetery.
The crackdown follows the intervention of Sinn Fein Councillor Colly Kelly this week.
Colr. Kelly said that this involved a new security contract for the cemetery, local community wardens, Community PSNI team and Community Restorative Justice, with regular and repeated patrolling every day.
Residents in the area, meanwhile have produced photos of the debris, left by some of those scaling walls and entering the cemetery afterhours.
Colr. Kelly said: “The anti-social behaviour taking place here is unreal. There has been cans, bottles, rubbish and everything left lying there. This stuff is right beside the graves.
“It is not the thing that people want to be seeing when they go up to visit their loved ones. It’s a matter of respect.”
Local people have also been warned that the area comes under the by-laws which forbid drinking in public and those breaking these laws could face hefty fines.
Colr. Kelly said that it was hoped a tendering process to select a security firm for the cemetery would be completed shortly, while it has been agreed that there will be six to eight patrols each day.
A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said it was “aware of ongoing issues with young people involved in anti-social behaviour and is working closely with the relevant bodies including the PSNI to address the issue”.
She added: “The Council has increased patrols of the area by their community safety wardens and would like to reassure the public that every effort is made to ensure that the appropriate steps are being taken to combat any issues.
“The Council is mindful that the Cemetery is a place for quiet reflection and should be treated with respect by all. Council welcomes any information from members of the public which would help prevent antisocial activity.”