Belfast Telegraph

Residents' fury after teen gang runs amok in Shantallow area of Derry

By Donna Deeney

A gang of 50 young people who went on a wrecking rampage feel they are "untouchable" by the law, according to community representatives.

Members of the Fire Service and PSNI came under a deluge of stones and bricks as they tried to extinguish a family car set alight by the gang in the Shantallow area of Londonderry.

Residents living near the Racecourse Road area endured a weekend where a large number of young people, some as young as 13 and many of them under the influence of alcohol, ran amok through the streets.

Local councillor Tony Hassan, along with other political representatives, met with the PSNI to raise residents' concerns.

He said: "Up to 50 young people got involved in activity which resulted in a family car being burned on the Racecourse Road.

"The level of anti-community activity needs to be addressed and parents need to take full responsibility for the actions of their children.

"It is unacceptable that families are left without a car because young people feel they can burn it with impunity.

A number of community representatives spent several hours on the streets at the weekend where they tried to intervene – with little success.

Among them was councillor Brian Tiernery, who said: "I was there, along with police, fire crew and community representatives.

"We tried to calm the situation, and to some degree we did, however, when we pressed the young people about their actions they could not give us an answer as to why they felt the need to cause such a blatant obstruction to so many residents and motorists.

"The residents of this area have been living under these difficult circumstances for quite some time and something has to happen to relieve them of this torment every weekend."

Newly appointed Chief Inspector of Foyle, Tony Callaghan, insisted that when it comes to this level of criminal activity his officers will take tough action.

He said: "The actions of this group of young people got completely out of hand and this was completely inexcusable behaviour which brought the area into disrepute.

"I am not prepared to tolerate these kinds of incidents and when it gets to this level of criminal activity we will get tough.

"Parents need to take responsibility for their children, but as well as this the young people themselves need to make sure they do not become involved in any kind of activity that is going to leave them with a criminal record for the rest of their lives."

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