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Watch: Belfast Holyland resident demands action over disorder

A resident of Belfast's Holyland has called for action after several cars were damaged during a spate of anti-social behaviour in the area.

The resident, who does not wish to be named, said the problem has been ongoing for years and her home on Rugby Avenue has previously been hit with bottles and a fire extinguisher was let off through her letterbox.

Housing a significant student population, the Holyland has been the subject of anti-social behaviour concerns for years, particularly involving street drinking.

On Sunday night, a crowd of young people were filmed pulling a 'to-let' sign out of the front garden of a house and throwing glass bottles in the Rugby Avenue area.

"I was woken up at 2.30am to a crowd of young ones across the street kicking a phone box. Then they started throwing bottles and screaming, so I got my phone out and started recording," the resident explained.

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Several cars were damaged overnight on Monday

Several cars were damaged overnight on Monday

Several cars were damaged overnight on Monday

"Then they pulled a 'to-let' sign out of the ground outside a house opposite me and actually tried to throw it at my window. I phoned the police but by the time they arrived the crowd had ran away."

In the latest incident, residents woke on Tuesday morning to find wing mirrors of at least four cars knocked off.

It is absolutely deplorable and intolerable. The residents are beyond frustrated and have been calling for decisive and lasting interventions from various public bodies for many years, with little response Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw

"We woke up this morning to all these cars mindlessly damaged, it's just not on," the resident said.

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Several cars were damaged overnight on Monday

Several cars were damaged overnight on Monday

Several cars were damaged overnight on Monday

"My young grandson lives with me and he's very ill, we shouldn't have to put up with this. I've been living here for 12 years and it's always been a problem. I've had students letting of fire extinguishers through my letter box, eggs thrown at my house - all sorts."

Last month, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that almost 3,600 complaints were made about student behaviour to Queen's University (QUB) and Ulster University (UU) between 2015 and 2019, with many relating to those living in the Holyland.

UU had more than double the overall number of complaints, recording 2,510 misconduct reports compared to QUB's 1,056.

Alliance MLA for the area, Paula Bradshaw, said there has been no let up in anti-social and criminal behaviour over the past 12 months and before.

"Where there was once a time when this behaviour peaked around Freshers’ Week and St. Patrick’s Day, this is no longer the case," she said.

"The residents have had to ensure persistent late night parties, burnt out cars and wing mirrors kicked off, migrant families having their front doors smeared to intimidate them, bottles thrown at windows in the middle of the night, abusive language, urinating in the street and young people lying about so drunk they cannot stand when pupils are making their way to school.

“Is this behaviour in any way acceptable for a residential area, we must ask ourselves. It is absolutely deplorable and intolerable. The residents are beyond frustrated and have been calling for decisive and lasting interventions from various public bodies for many years, with little response.”

The resident called on the council to step up patrols in the area and for the police to do more to crack down on criminal damage.

"The council has patrols operating from 2pm to 10pm, but that's just not good enough - we need patrols on all night, because this behaviour is going on all night - it doesn't stop at 10pm," the resident added.

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Several cars were damaged overnight on Monday

Several cars were damaged overnight on Monday

Several cars were damaged overnight on Monday

"There are 13 or 14 streets in the Holyland, how can the police or council not control 13 or 14 streets? The level of anti-social behaviour is incredible, unless you live here and witness it, you wouldn't believe it."

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: “Belfast City Council continues to work in partnership with the PSNI, universities and other statutory agencies to tackle and address concerns around anti-social behaviour, noise and on-street drinking which impacts residents of the Holylands and Lower Ormeau area.

"Criminal damage and serious anti-social behaviour are enforced by the PSNI and can be reported by calling 101.”

The PSNI has been contacted for a comment.

Belfast Telegraph