The police have warned people against entering Hilden Mill, saying it is “not a tourist attraction”.
Despite attempts to redevelop the sixteen acre site, Hilden Mill has been empty since Barbour Threads closed in 2006.
In recent years the Mill has attracted unwanted visitors, from children using it as a playground to vandals defacing the historic site or those just merely curious about the buildings. However, the police have warned people to stay away from the site which could pose a safety risk.
A spokesperson for Lisburn police said: “Hilden Mill has played an extensive role in the history of Lisburn in one form or another from as long ago as 1784.
“The mill, whatever its future, is in a state of disrepair. Asbestos, broken glass, loose slates and masonry, open lift shafts and rotten floors are some of the hazards. There is also a river running through it. I cannot stress enough that the mill is not a playground or a tourist attraction. Groups of youths have been chased from the site and adults who were “just curious” have been asked to leave.
“Please stay out of the mill. The metal palisade fencing is there for a reason. If you live anywhere near the mill please take an interest in where your young people are especially with summer holidays round the corner.”
Lagan Valley MLA Robbie Butler echoed the police’s call for people to stay away from Hilden Mill. “There are warning signs and fencing in place to deter unauthorised access to the site for very good reasons,” he said. “Coming from that area as a child it is sad to see such an iconic building plunge into such a poor state of repair. During my time with the Fire Service there were many fire calls to Hilden Mill, each of those calls being deliberate and exposing the crews to unwarranted levels of danger as they would tackle the blaze whilst ensuring that there was nobody trapped or in need of rescue. Anyone that enters the grounds whilst it is in its current state is not only putting their own life at risk but also that of security personnel or the emergency services.”