Belfast Telegraph

Belfast trouble: Children as young as 12 involved, officer hurt and no arrests - police to up patrols across city

Police brand trouble as senseless and unacceptable, achieving nothing

Police are to up patrols across the city in a bid to curb violence following a spate of trouble in nationalist areas in the city.

An officer was injured and cars burnt out or damaged in violence in the Markets area. While in the Divis area a derelict former Credit Union building was set on fire and a bus damaged by youths.

There have been no arrests, but police have said they are working to track down those responsible down. Disorder broke out after council workers removed bonfire materials.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire said the disorder "damaged communities and the futures of those young people drawn into it".

Superintendent Andrea McMullan said the violence was in "small pockets of the city".

“Yesterday afternoon police received reports of youths throwing stones and damaging cars in Stewart Street in the Markets area," she said.

“There were sporadic incidents of cars being attacked in the area by stone throwers and one petrol bomb was thrown. By teatime there was a crowd of about 100, mainly young people, in the area.

“Three cars were burnt out and five cars were damaged.

“Police responded and were present throughout the afternoon to protect the public and to deter the disorder. Two police Land Rovers were damaged and one officer sustained minor injuries.

“Just before 9pm a derelict building was set on fire in the Divis area.  A bus was also damaged by a large group on the Falls Road after 11pm. Police responded to these alongside NI Fire & rescue Service.”

Supt Andrea McMullan continued, “This behaviour is senseless and unacceptable. It achieves nothing - creating only inconvenience, disruption and misery for the local community.

“Police will not tolerate such wanton violence and, as they did yesterday, will deploy the necessary resources to detect and deter those responsible. Where this is not practicable at the time, they will seek to gather evidence to bring those responsible before the courts. There will be consequences for those choosing to engage in this type of behaviour.

“I would again urge parents within these areas to monitor the activities of their children. Know where they are. Know what they’re doing. We saw footage of children, some as young as 12 years old on the streets yesterday attacking police and targeting parked vehicles.”

Supt McMullan concluded, “I would like to reassure the public that police patrols across Belfast will be increased over the coming days in an effort to curb this violence. I would also call on those with influence in local communities to exert some control in an effort to dissuade any repetition of this behaviour.”

Anyone with information about those involved is urged to contact police on 101 or in confidence through the Crimestoppers Charity on 0800 555 111.

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