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Rioting mob forces children from Belfast homes

By Nevin Farrell

Crying children were forced to flee their homes in terror when a mob of teenagers went on the rampage after answering an internet call to "mass up" for music and a drinking session.

Trouble erupted as elements of the 200-strong crowd blocked a street in the Twinbrook estate on the outskirts of west Belfast and broke into a derelict pub before setting it on fire and pelting police with fireworks.

Many came on buses after the event was advertised online.

Summerhill Mews resident Sean Jordan said crowds began gathering around 8pm on Saturday. "They started fighting with each other and then they set the bar on fire and when police did eventually come down they threw fireworks and bottles at them," he said.

"A 13-year-old girl was intoxicated and fell into the river and two ambulances were called during the disturbances."

Summerhill Mews residents Leah L'Estrange and Tina Burns said the trouble had been brewing for the last couple of weeks.

"These crowds have been gathering for a while and when the fire started there was a fear it could have spread to our houses," she said. "I think the police should have nipped this in the bud earlier.

"There was music blasting and one girl had to be pulled from the river suffering from hypothermia. Others were choking on their sick."

Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer McCann said the police operation was an "abject failure".

Inspector Paul Noble said the PSNI would meet politicians to discuss concerns.

A 17-year-old was arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour and assault on police during the disturbance.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph