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Police target teenage gangs

Police are to a crack down on anti-social behaviour at flashpoint areas in east Belfast.

The PSNI said patrols would be stepped up at sectarian interfaces in a bid to curb trouble between rival gangs of teenagers.

On Sunday, two paint bombs were thrown at police vehicles and over the past week, a 16-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy were arrested for assault and possession of an offensive weapon.

PSNI Chief Inspector for east Belfast David Moore said: "I have concerns social media, either purposely or not, bring young people to the interface areas.

"Some of those involved are not local and indeed a significant number are teenage girls.

"They must appreciate that people live in interface areas and gathering there for no good reason simply disrupts and affects those who do. It is very obvious that many of these young people know one another with whom they take issue with."

The senior officer also urged parents to ensure they know where their children are at all times.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has called for more work to improve relations between interface communities.

He said: "Unfortunately there have been a number of incidents at the Short Strand interface over the last few nights.

"I would appeal for cool heads on all sides and for the work to continue building relationships across this interface so that problems such as this do not escalate."

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