Police issue warning ahead of St Patrick's Day festivities in Belfast
The PSNI has issued a warning ahead of St Patrick's Day festivities set to take place in Belfast on Saturday.
In previous years Belfast's Holyland student area has become infamous for large gatherings of students engaging in anti-social behaviour.
A three-day security operation involving a major police presence, council workers, street pastors and mobile security cameras will take place to minimise disruption.
"Last year large numbers of drunk young people made their way to the Holyland area on St Patrick’s Day, creating serious safety issues for emergency services," said a PSNI spokesperson.
"Ambulances called to the area to treat injured people were unable to access streets and there was significant potential for public disorder, with associated risks for everyone in the area.
"This behaviour had a hugely detrimental impact on other residents of the Holyland and surrounding areas – and will not be tolerated this year."
The police's effort will see them working alongside Queen's University and Ulster University to keep the area safe.
The spokesperson added: "Please make sure you know where your children are going and if they are planning to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Belfast, that they only attend officially organised events and avoid unnecessarily congregating in the Holyland area."
This year's St Patrick's Day is expected to be particularly hectic, as in addition to the parade an concert, there will also be a 10k race in the city centre at 9am on Saturday morning, and the England v Ireland rugby match on Saturday afternoon.
Belfast Telegraph Digital