Belfast Telegraph

Drunk Belfast teens hurl stones at 999 crews trying to aid man who had stopped breathing

By Angela Rainey and Nevin Farrell

A drunken mob of teenagers attacked police officers and paramedics as they attempted to reach a young man who had stopped breathing in a west Belfast park on Saturday night.

More than 100 youths on a drink and drug-fuelled rampage in Falls Park targeted around 10 officers, pelting them with stones as they escorted medics to the teenager.

No-one was seriously injured in the attack, although police had to fend off the youngsters whose violent antics delayed paramedics from attending to the patient.

SDLP councillor for Upper Falls, Tim Attwood, branded the attack as "disgusting".

He said: "The community is disgusted by the fact that this attack has taken place when the police and ambulance crew were trying to save someone's life.

"It was clear that the patient was in significant distress and there is no excuse for this attack.

"It is absolutely reprehensible that anyone would try to disrupt the emergency services in performance of their duties."

A PSNI spokesperson added: "Police officers attending the report of a person in distress at Falls Park in west Belfast on the evening of Saturday April 8 were attacked by stone-throwing youths in the area.

"No officers were injured as a result of the incident, and the person in distress was then located and tended to until the arrival of paramedics a short time later. There are no further details."

The incident was not the only attack on emergency services staff at the weekend. Children, some as young as 12, threw bricks and bottles at fire crews attending a blaze at Dunclug, Ballymena. Firefighters were called to the scene of a burning two-storey, end-of-terrace building following reports that people were trapped inside, when missiles were thrown at them. When three crews arrived shortly after 4.40am yesterday, the blaze was well-developed and teams wearing breathing apparatus fought to extinguish the fire.

Afterwards, youths fired bricks and bottles at a firefighter who had to put on his helmet to protect himself, before fleeing.

Group Commander Max Joyce said: "We were told that there were people inside but, thankfully, it turned out that no one was inside the building. The fire was quickly brought under control and as we were making up to go back to the station, one of our personnel came under attack with bricks and bottles.

"I have to say that the men and women who work for the Northern Ireland Fire Service put their lives on the line and serve the community, and do so willingly and, really, we do not expect to come under attack from youths.

"There needs to be a concerted effort by parents so they know where their children are, and by youth groups to stop these attacks on our personnel."

The top part of the property was substantially damaged although the occupied bottom flat escaped the flames.

Last night, one local resident said: "It is fortunate we are not talking about serious injury or death here. As well as the man living in the flat below there are families nearby, although the next door neighbours fortunately were away in Ballycastle.

"Youths have been burning sofas and other things on a piece of waste ground in the estate for the last few weeks."

A PSNI spokesman said: "The fire was reported to police at around 4.40am and is being treated as deliberate at this time. Substantial damage was caused to the house but there were no reports of any injuries."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph