A YOUNG girl was left “absolutely inconsolable” after being evicted from family theme park Flamingo Land amid unruly behaviour that resulted in a woman’s arrest and complaints of heavy-handed security.

Sophie Carruthers, who has cerebral palsy and sometimes uses a wheelchair, was with her father and brother as part of a Preston Athletic Youth FC group that had travelled to the park in Yorkshire for a weekend football tournament.

However, as reported in last week’s Courier, the entire group of 111 people were asked to leave a day early after several incidents involving adults and young players.

Flamingo Land took the decision to evict the group after a couple’s domestic altercation at the bar resulted in security being called and, in a separate incident, police were called to the park to arrest a young woman on suspicion of assault.

Sophie’s dad Michael Carruthers, a coach for the club who splits his time as a part-time support worker and caring for seven-year-old Sophie, from Blawearie Road, Tranent, has now hit out at the “disgusting behaviour” of security staff at the park.

The family had made the trip south as Sophie’s brother Kaden, 13, was playing in the May 18-19 football tournament.

Mr Carruthers said that he, along with most of the group, woke up on the Sunday morning totally unaware of the events of the previous evening which resulted in the group not allowed to remain at the park, where they were due to stay another night, after their football tournament at nearby sports pitches ended.

“It was all very upsetting,” he said.

“We didn’t really know what was going on. To kick everyone out after a few incidents seems to me really unfair.

“There were young kids there who were very upset and humiliated.

“As I understand it, the people responsible for what happened had offered to leave so that the rest of us could stay. It seemed cruel to kick every single one of us out.

“We were on the bus when members of the security team came on and cut the children’s wristbands off [for entry to the park] which was really unnecessary.

“My daughter was crying, it was disgusting behaviour.

“When it came time for us to leave after packing up our stuff, we had to walk to the place of pick-up and wait for the buses, watched by security guards the whole way.

“When we got to the place we were getting picked up from, we then found out that they weren’t going to allow the buses into the park. My daughter had her walker with her instead of her chair and was already struggling at how far she had had to travel; there was no way they could ask her to walk another fair distance to the buses.

“It was after what felt like ages, and I had kicked up a bit of a fuss, they finally let the buses come down to us to collect us. It was a humiliating experience.”

And he claimed: “The security guards were very intimidating, especially to the children. We were all treated like criminals, even though the majority of us hadn’t done anything wrong.

“My daughter even turned to me at one point in tears, asking: ‘We’ve done nothing wrong, why are we getting thrown out?’

“I understand some of the behaviour was unacceptable, but there were young children on the trip and they should have been taken into account before the decision was made. To punish everyone for the actions of a small few seems very unfair.”

Flamingo Land did not respond for requests for a comment this week,

Last week, spokesperson Andy Miller said: “The anti-social behaviour which was displayed by members of the football team in question couldn’t be tolerated as it was interfering with other guests’ enjoyment. The decision was taken by the tournament organisers to evict the team involved.”

Preston Athletic Youth FC chairman Alan Morgan was contacted by the Courier for a comment but had not responded by the time we went to press.