About 150 Belfast youths throw bottles and stones at cars

PSNI calls on parents and guardians to make sure they know where their children are

PSNI says the youths were drinking and some of them attacked officers who responded to reports of anti-social behaviour. Photograph: EPA

PSNI says the youths were drinking and some of them attacked officers who responded to reports of anti-social behaviour. Photograph: EPA

 

A crowd of 150 young people threw stones and bottles at motorists in west Belfast over the weekend, the PSNI has said.

The young people, ranging in age from 13 to 18-years-of-age, gathered at Falls Park at around 7pm on Saturday, a police spokeswoman told The Irish Times.

Police said on Sunday officers who attended the scene were attacked by some of the youths while the rest dispersed.

No cars were damaged but the window of a local business was smashed. Falls Park has been the scene of multiple anti-social behaviour incidents by youths over recent years.

Police called on parents and guardians to make sure they know where their children are during the evenings.

Inspector McCullough spoke of the impact “reckless behaviour” by young people’s has on the wider community.

“The local community in the Falls area has a right to live in peace, and to enjoy their homes,” he said.

“They do not deserve to have to tolerate this type of anti-social behaviour.”

Police said not all the youths involved were from the Falls area.

Inspector McCullough appealed to parents and guardians ensure they know where their children are and to “talk to them about the danger of getting caught up in the moment and the possible outcomes they could face if they are found committing any offence”.

He also appealed to the young people to think of the consequences of being arrested for anti-social behaviour and the possible implications for their future travel, study and employment prospects.

“It is essential that all parents and guardians know where their young people are gathering, to ensure they are not getting involved in anti-social behaviour, causing distress to local residents.

“It’s not about spoiling fun, this is about keeping people safe.”

People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll said it was “lucky nobody was seriously hurt or injured after the actions in and around the Falls Park”.

“We very easily could’ve been hearing a different story today of a motorist or pedestrian being seriously injured,” he said.

“What may initially seem like harmless fun could result in serious injury or harm.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Steven Corr condemned the incident. Mr Corr also said he was aware that young people had been taking alcohol from their family homes in backpacks to drink in the Falls Park area.