Belfast Telegraph

Masked vigilantes on streets of Derry

Car death: Caoimhin Cassidy
Car death: Caoimhin Cassidy
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

The presence of masked vigilantes on the streets of Londonderry is a "worrying development", politicians have said.

The vigilantes have been seen since youths rampaged in Derry after teenager Caoimhin Cassidy (18) died in a stolen car that went on fire after crashing on June 1.

Police are seeking two men who were also in the vehicle.

Joyriders in two cars caused chaos in front of St Mary's Church where Requiem Mass for Mr Cassidy took place last Friday.

Hours later a youth was found on the Hollyhall Road with puncture wounds to his shins and masked men smashed up a house in Creggan.

Police say they received a report of four masked men in a car in the Galliagh area who stopped two males walking along Templemore Road in the early hours of yesterday.

The pair ran off when one of the masked men ordered them to get into the car.

Sinn Fein councillor Sandra Duffy is to meet police chiefs in the city to discuss joyriding and anti-social behaviour.

She said a number of people in Galliagh had reported seeing masked men patrolling the area.

She said: "I was aware of masked men around Galliagh a while back, so news that masked men have been seen in the wider area is a worrying development.

"There has been an increase in anti-community activity across the city in recent weeks, which Sinn Fein believes needs urgent action to ensure that there is no recurrence of these events."

SDLP councillor Brian Tierney said a plan was being put in place heading into the summer months to encourage young people to avoid anti-social activity.

"We did this last year and it was very successful, even in some of the hotspots for anti-social activity where the bonfires were and we had no bonfire in Galliagh last year because of that work," he said.

"Masked men patrolling Galliagh in cars or otherwise instilling fear in young people is not the way to address anti-social behaviour.

"We want the young people to engage in the positive projects that are going on in the area and intimidating them isn't the way to make that happen."

The PSNI said: "Police in Derry received a report at around 12.30am that a silver car with four masked men inside stopped near two males as they walked along Templemore Road.

"One of the masked men was reported to have shouted at the males to get into the car.

"Both males ran off and the car then left in the direction of Whitehouse Road."

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