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Police appeal for interface calm

Police in east Belfast are appealing to parents to help stop the ‘recreational rioting’ on the lower Newtownards Road.

They report that the good weather has brought an increase in anti social behaviour is the area of the Mountpottinger Road, Albertbridge Road and Castlereagh Street.

“Young people have been gathering in large groups and throwing missiles at each other whilst unsuspecting commuters, who are travelling through the area, can end up with damage to their vehicles,” said a PSNI spokesperson.

“The young people seem to have absolutely no regard for the upset they cause residents living in the area or the cost that a car or bus owner incurs when their vehicle is damaged by a missile.”

Local officers have been committing resources to the area in order to keep rival groups of young people apart but Area Commander for East Belfast Chief Inspector Yvonne Davidson has now made a direct appeal to the parents of young people who may be gathering in the area nightly.

"I would ask all parents with older children and teenagers to talk to their kids and find out where they are, who they are with and what they are doing in the evenings,” she said.

"Don’t let your children congregate at the interface because my officers will be adopting a robust approach to anyone found breaking the law. We will be gathering evidence using resources including CCTV.

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"Officers will be noting the names and addresses of the young people at the interface and parents will receive a letter informing them that their children’s presence was noted in an area of high anti-social behaviour. The letter should be an alarm warning to parents to the fact that their child’s safety could be at risk if they allow their child to continue to go to the interface area," she said.

Chief Inspector Davidson added that while the police are committed to working with the community to address the problem, parents should be aware that the consequences could be a criminal record — something which can stay with a young person for the rest of their life.

Ms Davidson added: “We all bear a responsibility to work together to make our community a safer place in which to live. Parents are a key part of the solution in tackling anti-social behaviour and I would appeal to them for their help. I would also like to record my thanks to all the community workers in this area who have worked tirelessly over the last year building relationships with the young people from the local community.”

Anyone who has concerns or would like to speak to police can contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 0845 600 8000.

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