Youth centre anger at theft of manhole covers.

Youth centre anger at theft of manhole covers.

A youth centre in Belfast are extremely unhappy after metal manhole covers were stolen.

Michael Willis, youth co-ordinator at the Sally Garden centre in Poleglass outside Belfast, said it has no money to replace the covers which were stolen for scrap metal.

He said Northern Ireland Water had told him it was not responsible for their replacement as the land was privately owned.

“We were told it’s on private ground. We asked could we fill them in but were told no,” he said.

“We’ve priced replacements at £2,200 – we can’t do that at all. If we could weld it or do it ourselves with concrete, we would.”

“You get kids running and playing on it. When it falls dark it is especially dangerous when there are 22 holes – we have to keep the kids out.”

According to Mr Willis, those responsible for stealing the covers could have earned around £200 by selling them as scrap.

“We are land rich and money poor – for us to do this we would have to borrow money.”

He said he now feels powerless and would consider leaving his job if a child was seriously injured as a result of falling down an uncovered hole.

“I would hate for something to happen,” Mr Willis said.

“If it did happen I would consider leaving this job – I have a duty of care to children and I feel it is all out of my hands.”

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