Belfast Telegraph

Man attacked with iron bar as youths rampage in Co Tyrone village

The Co Tyrone village of Sion Mills was the scene of serious street violence on Tuesday night involving young people
The Co Tyrone village of Sion Mills was the scene of serious street violence on Tuesday night involving young people
A resident who was attacked with an iron bar
The injury to his shoulder
Leona O'Neill

By Leona O'Neill

A man was treated for injuries to his face and back after youths "went on the rampage" in a Co Tyrone village, resulting in serious street violence.

The trouble flared in Sion Mills on Tuesday night.

Roadwork barriers were dragged across the main Londonderry to Dublin road and bricks and bottles were thrown at passing vehicles shortly before midnight in disorder that was described as 'mayhem' by residents.

One local father, who did not want to be identified, said he was attacked after moving the barricade from the road, suffering cuts and bruises to his head.

"I live around the corner from the Main Street," he said. "I came out to see what was happening and I saw the barricade.

"This is the main A5 road to Dublin, so is a very busy road.

"I imagined a lorry coming round here, having to slam on the brakes, swerving and hitting one of the houses close to the road. So I decided to move it.

"I called to the youths not to come near me, that I was clearing the road, but they started throwing missiles at me.

"I then made my way home but I could hear them behind me with iron bars and bricks banging on the shop shutters.

"I have a little 11-month-old daughter at home and I didn't want these people near my house so I stopped away from my house and they overpowered me.

"There were maybe 12 or 15 of them. I got hit by an iron bar on my back trying to protect myself and had a brick thrown at my face.

"It was the last thing I expected to happen on a Tuesday night."

Sion Mills community worker Andy Patton said that the scene that greeted him on the village's Main Street was 'utter mayhem'.

"I got a call just before midnight to come to the village and I was met with total and utter mayhem," he said.

"There was a crowd of youths there and they were pulling street furniture out on to the road and blocking it.

"They were throwing stones, bottles and bricks at shop fronts and people. It was madness."

Mr Patton said the community is disgusted.

He said that the incident arose after young people gathered to remember a young man who died suddenly in the village on Sunday.

"The people of this village are absolutely disgusted," he added.

"For something like this to happen in our village is shocking. A lot of youths were in the area from other places. What happened was just wanton vandalism."

Police said they received a number of reports of a disturbance in the Main Street area of Sion Mills on Tuesday night.

Chief Inspector Rosemary Thompson said: "We received reports that a group of youths were throwing stones at passing cars in the Church Square and Main Street, Sion Mills.

"Officers attended and spoke to a number of people. Whilst speaking to these youths a number of them alleged that they had been assaulted.

"A police vehicle was also hit with a number of stones.

"We also received another report that a man aged in his 30s was treated for facial injuries, having been assaulted in the same area.

"Police took the details of the youths present."

She added: "Enquiries into this disturbance and the reported assaults are ongoing."

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