Several arrests after night of unrest in Ballymena

 

There have been a number of arrests in the Co Antrim town of Ballymena following overnight disturbances.

Several police vehicles were damaged by crowds throwing stones, petrol bombs, paint bombs and other missiles close to a bonfire site in the mainly nationalist Dunclug Estate. One man was arrested for petrol bomb offences.

During the disturbances two derelict houses in Doury Road were set alight. Fire services personnel attempting to tackle the blaze were pelted with stones.

Another man was arrested for petrol bomb offences.

Meanwhile a house in Camberwell Way area was attacked with petrol bombs but no one was injured despite extensive damage to the front of the house.

Meanwhile, a man has been taken to hospital after disturbances in the Orkney drive area of the Ballykeel estate.

A crowd throwing stones and bottles attacked police and one man was arrested.

SDLP Councillor Mr PJ McAvoy strongly condemned the attacks, saying "what started out as a harmless bonfire for the young people was hijacked by trouble-makers who are absolutely not wanted by the people of Ballymena".

Mr McAvoy said: "This was obviously re-planned and organised: wheelie bins full of petrol bombs suddenly became available when the police appeared."

He said: "This was not a case of heavy-handed policing, because the police acted with restraint in awareness that they were being set up."