Northern Ireland

Car crime: West Belfast groups meet to discuss problem

Police, politicians and community groups have been discussing ways of tackling car crime in west Belfast.

It follows the latest incident in which several hundred people turned out to watch stolen cars being raced along the Falls Road.

The meeting heard that the problem had to be tackled "before someone is killed or seriously injured".

Community activists said the incidents were less prevalent but were not wanted by the people of west Belfast.

Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann said the mood of residents had been critical "that the thing that happened on New Year's Eve, could happen at all".

'Lack of arrests'

"But it was also positive in trying to ensure that it doesn't happen again and putting in place structures that allows us to discuss and move the thing forward," he said.

"People wasted no opportunity in letting the police and others know what their feelings were on that occasion."

Mr McCann said people were not happy about "the lack of arrests and the lack of action" by police.

He said it was hoped that, within the next two weeks, a series of meetings would take place that would allow the police to deal with some of the people involved in the incidents.

Terry Quinn of the Falls Residents Association said: "It's so disheartening for this to be happening over the holiday period, because it's not the norm anymore, it's one of those one-off incidents that happens in the Falls area.

"There is good work being done by community workers, by youth workers within the area to try to curb this situation."

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