Belfast Telegraph

Youth brawl in north Belfast: Teens with knives and sticks fight, police officer injured

A brawl broke out in north Belfast last night after a group of 20 to 30 youths gathered with knives and sticks to fight.

The fighting broke out at around 10pm in the Skegoniel area and a number of vehicles in the area were damaged.

A 17-year-old boy received a head injury which was treated at the scene.

When police stepped in to bring the incident under control an officer sustained a minor injury.

The PSNI says it will step up patrols in the area.

Chief Inspect Davy Moore issued a warning to the young people about the consequences of their behaviour, as they could be jailed if caught carrying a weapon.

“The fact is that carrying a weapon can have disastrous results not only for the victim but for the offender who will have to deal with the burden of a criminal conviction throughout the rest of their lives," he said.

“Those who might consider carrying such a weapon should be aware that local police will carry out searches and that you stand a strong chance of getting caught.

“Young people should stop and think of the consequences of their actions both in terms of causing serious injury to others or themselves, and in committing a criminal offence which puts their future prospects in jeopardy when they be brought before the courts and convicted of a serious criminal offence.”

It is an offence to possess an article which is sharply pointed (except a folding pocket-knife) in a public place unless it is for use at work, for religious reasons, or as part of a national costume. The maximum penalty for such an offence is imprisonment of up to six months and/or a fine of £5000 on summary conviction or two years on conviction on indictment (Section 139 Criminal Justice Act 1988).

A person who carries an offensive weapon in public can be jailed for up to six months on summary conviction or four years on indictment (Art.22 Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987).

Ch Insp Moore added: “Parents need to take responsibility regarding the whereabouts of their children and in supervising access to social networking sites.

“There are fears that should this behaviour continue that a young person may lose their life. This would have a devastating impact on communities.”

“Police will be carrying out increased patrolling in the area.”

Any member of the public who feels they can assist the police, who notice any unusual activity in the area or who has any information to contact police at Antrim Road Police Station on 101. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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