Covid-19: Holyland breaches lead to one arrest and 14 fines

Image source, Google Maps
Image caption,
About 50 young people gathered in groups in Agincourt Street at about 02:00 GMT

One man has been arrested and 14 people were fined after police were called to deal with house parties and anti-social behaviour in Belfast's Holyland area.

A crowd of about 50 young people gathered in groups on Agincourt Street shortly after 02:00 GMT on Wednesday, according to police.

They arrested a 23-year-old man for assaulting police and other offences.

Earlier, officers visited two properties where they issued 14 £200 fines for breaching Covid restrictions.

A further six people who were in the properties were given formal warnings for breaching the rules about gatherings in private homes.

Ch Insp Gavin Kirkpatrick said it was the second night in a row that police responded to complaints about parties and anti-social behaviour in the Holyland area.

"I am sure many people will have seen the footage on social media showing the appalling behaviour of some people police had to deal with," he said.

"Police will robustly challenge and deal with people who are either disregarding the health regulations or engaging in this type of anti-social and criminal behaviour."

The Holyland is a residential area popular with students and police have been called to the vicinity several times since term started in September to break up house parties.

'Old enough to know better'

Ch Insp Kirkpatrick said police patrols in the area have increased again and the PSNI "will continue to liaise with the universities, colleges and other partners to address this issue".

"Indeed, where appropriate, the universities and colleges will consider their own sanctions against any students involved."

The officer added that Holyland residents "do not want to be kept awake all night with parties, their property damaged, or the area left in a mess by a relatively small group of mainly young adults who are old enough to know better".

"As huge numbers of people across the country make sacrifices - whether isolating, working from home or having to again temporarily close their businesses to try and prevent the spread of Covid 19 - those who are visiting or staying in this residential area must take responsibility for their behaviour."

He also appealed to parents and guardians of young people living in the Holyland to ensure that "they are behaving responsibly".