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Boy (12) is cautioned by police over fireworks thrown from Belfast Ormeau Road bridge

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A boy aged 12 has been cautioned by police in front of his parents after fireworks were thrown from a Belfast bridge into a passing boat, injuring the rower and damaging the vessel

A boy aged 12 has been cautioned by police in front of his parents after fireworks were thrown from a Belfast bridge into a passing boat, injuring the rower and damaging the vessel

A boy aged 12 has been cautioned by police in front of his parents after fireworks were thrown from a Belfast bridge into a passing boat, injuring the rower and damaging the vessel

A boy aged 12 has been cautioned by police in front of his parents after fireworks were thrown from a Belfast bridge into a passing boat, injuring the rower and damaging the vessel.

Fireworks were thrown from the Ormeau Road Bridge over the River Lagan on Tuesday afternoon.

Just after 4.30pm, the PSNI received a report that a group of young people had been throwing fireworks at people using boats on the river.

Half an hour later, they received a further report that a rowing boat had sustained significant damage and one of the rowers had been injured.

Police attended and located a group who matched the description in the reports.

A small amount of fireworks was recovered and a 12-year-old boy was taken home and cautioned in relation to a number of offences in the presence of his parents.

He will now be referred to the youth diversion officer.

Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said: "Unfortunately, at this time of year we begin to see an increase in incidents involving fireworks. The misuse of fireworks, which are essentially made up of explosive materials, is an extremely reckless act, which can result in serious harm and life changing injuries.

"This irresponsible action not only threatened the life of the people using boats on the river, but also of the person throwing the fireworks and those who were also present at that time.

"It is illegal to possess, sell, handle or use fireworks if you do not have a licence and if detected, you can be fined up to £5,000 for breaking the law," he added.

Botanic SDLP councillor Gary McKeown also condemned those responsible: "Throwing fireworks at people is complete madness and risks the lives not only of those on the receiving end, but also those responsible.

"It's particularly shocking that people rowing on the Lagan were reportedly targeted, given how vulnerable someone would be in the middle of the river.

"At this time of the evening the area would have also been very busy with walkers and cyclists on Ormeau Bridge and along the embankment, which makes this even more concerning.

"It doesn't bear thinking about what could have happened.

"I would urge parents to make sure they know where their young people are, and ask young people to think twice before doing anything which could cause injury to others or yourself, and land you in serious trouble.

"My thoughts are with those who were affected by these incidents," he added.

Belfast Telegraph