PITTENCRIEFF PARK staff who work tirelessly to keep our beloved Glen the best in Scotland say they are “not giving up” despite relentless acts of vandalism in recent months.

Fife Council’s parks team say there has been an escalation during the coronavirus pandemic, culminating three weeks ago when memorial benches were torched.

After that incident, the Press ‘Protect Our Glen’ campaign was launched, calling for more to be done to protect Dunfermline’s much-loved Glen and continuing to highlight the issue until meaningful action is taken and the vandalism stops.

John O’Neil, team manager, Parks, Streets and Open Spaces, described how his staff were still keeping their faith and commitment to the job.

He said: “We are trying to keep our chin up and keep just doing the job but it does affect the morale of the team.

“With the best will in the world though, it’s a small team. However, they are really dedicated to the park, they care about the work they are doing and when they see this sort of vandalism happening, it’s difficult.

“But we keep picking ourselves up and we’re not giving up.”

Five teenagers – all male and aged between 13 and 15 – have been arrested and charged in connection with the incident on January 27, when bins were set alight and memorial benches left “extensively damaged”.

“It is a sad indictment on society that such an incident would happen,” John said, who has been the park’s manager for eight years.

“We’ve had bad damage before but not to such a thing as a memorial bench.

“Those responsible could not have mistaken them for anything else than a memorial bench.

“Some of the graffiti we’ve seen over the years is pretty disgusting and offensive but this was probably one of the worst instances.

“This vandalism does affect the public and I have had the hugely difficult task of telling family members what has happened to their loved ones’ memorial bench.

“It’s a lot of pressure and not a nice job.

“These people have not only made a financial contribution but an emotional contribution too.”

The parks team are hopeful that a corner may have been turned though because since the horrific incident on January 27 and the Press campaign that followed, there has been no record of vandalism that they know of.

John added: “Vandalism has been going on for years, sadly. It peaks at times and this has been a peak.

“As there have been arrests and this last incident has been particularly bad, it sometimes has an affect where it goes quiet as youngsters might be frightened to go to the park with the publicity around it.

“One of the team noted we didn’t have much bother in 2019 but it does come back around again.

“You have all these challenges, on top of a limited budget and COVID, but the team are up for the challenge of doing what they can because they know how popular Pittencrieff Park is.

“It’s hard but we’ll keep trying to serve the people of Fife as best as we can.”

Last week, we reported that play equipment damaged in January will be able to be fixed thanks to a donation from Dunfermline company Optos.

John confirmed that parts have been ordered for the park but could be delayed due to restrictions placed on the manufacturers making them at the moment.