Northern Ireland

Londonderry residents' call over anti-social behaviour

People living in an area of Londonderry have said their lives are being made miserable by youths involved in anti-social behaviour close to their homes.

Police came under attack over two consecutive nights in the Lowry's Lane area of the city over the weekend.

A crowd of up to 100 teenagers gathered in the area on Friday night to drink alcohol.

Residents claim most of the teenagers were aged between 13 and 15 and one described the scene as "total chaos".

They said youths from all over the city were using social network sites to orchestrate large gatherings near Lowry's Lane and Hatmore Park.

'Aggressive'

Resident Vinnie Doherty said he saw girls as young as 13 drinking large bottles of cider and "falling all over the place" as he walked his dog at about 2030 BST on Friday.

He said people were afraid to come out of their homes because of the behaviour of the teenagers.

"When they start drinking they become more boisterous, more aggressive and the later the night goes on the more noisy they get and they're harder to deal with."

Police were called to the area on Friday night to disperse the crowd and one officer used CS spray after he was surrounded by youths as he arrested a 19-year-old man.

Police also came under attack on Saturday night from youths throwing missiles.

Local resident Tony O'Doherty said: "This is not a weekend, recreational drinking sitution, this is almost every night."

"With the advent of Bebo, Facebook and texting it's obviously that the kids from all over decide this is where they will have a party.

'Disorder'

"The vast bulk of the kids, maybe 90% or more, are not from this area," he said.

The PSNI Area Commander for Foyle, Acting Chief Inspector Jon Burrows agreed there had been "a gather-up" of youths in the Lowry's Lane area over the summer but said "significantly more" were there over the weekend and there had been some disorder.

He said the police did not confiscate alcohol from any underage drinkers in the area over the weekend because by the time the officers arrived the alcohol had been consumed.

"It's not about seizing alcohol, it's about children not getting hold of alcohol in the first place," he said.

"Say we go and crack down in Lowry's Lane - where will those kids go? They'll be back to hanging around Craigavon Bridge, they'll be back to parts of the Creggan, so you need to solve the problem.

"Parents need to know where their children are, we'll work with the community to try to find out what the issues are. We'll put police in the right area at the right times and give kids an alternative to hanging round the streets drinking alcohol," he said.

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