A SENIOR police officer has warned those who damaged cars and buildings during a day long orgy of destruction will face the courts for their crimes.
Commenting on the disorder across small pockets of Belfast last night Superintendent Andrea McMullan said:
“Yesterday afternoon police received reports of youths throwing stones and damaging cars in Stewart Street in the Markets area.
“There were sporadic incidents of cars being attacked in the area by stone throwers and one petrol bomb was thrown.
“By teatime there was a crowd of about 100, mainly young people, in the area.
“Three cars were burnt out and five cars were damaged.
“Police responded and were present throughout the afternoon to protect the public and to deter the disorder.
“Two police landrovers were damaged and one officer sustained minor injuries.
“Just before 9 pm a derelict building was set on fire in the Divis area.
!A bus was also damaged by a large group on the Falls Road after 11 pm.
“Police responded to these alongside NI Fire & rescue Service.”
Supt McMullan added: “This behaviour is senseless and unacceptable.
“It achieves nothing – creating only inconvenience, disruption and misery for the local community.
“Police will not tolerate such wanton violence and, as they did yesterday, will deploy the necessary resources to detect and deter those responsible.
“Where this is not practicable at the time, they will seek to gather evidence to bring those responsible before the courts.
“There will be consequences for those choosing to engage in this type of behaviour.
“I would again urge parents within these areas to monitor the activities of their children. Know where they are. Know what they’re doing. We saw footage of children, some as young as 12 years old on the streets yesterday attacking police and targeting parked vehicles.”
Supt McMullan concluded: “I would like to reassure the public that Police patrols across Belfast will be increased over the coming days in an effort to curb this violence.
“I would also call on those with influence in local communities to exert some control in an effort to dissuade any repetition of this behaviour.”
Anyone with information about those involved is urged to contact police on 101 or in confidence through the Crimestoppers Charity on 0800 555 111.