Children used to attack officers - PSNI

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Derry’s police chief has accused dissident republicans of using children to attack his officers.

Chief Inspector Jon Burrows was speaking after police displayed more than 50 petrol bombs seized in the city within a 48 hour period this week.

The petrol bombs were located in the Bogside and Gobnascale areas of the city during rioting on the evening of the Twelfth and in follow-up searches.

Chief Inspector Burrows said that 13 people were arrested in connection with the trouble and that many of them were under 18 years-old.

He hit out at those he believes orchestrated the Twelfth night disorder. “Dissidents selfishly used children to commit attacks against the police - that shows how low they can stoop,” he told the ‘Sunday Journal’.

The Foyle Area PSNI Commander, who saw children “well under ten years-old” among rioters in Derry this week, also sent a warning to parents.

“When we find young people involved in disorder or hanging around streets late at night during disorder we will inform social services so they can get in contact with parents or legal guardians. Where appropriate we will even consider whether parents have been guilty of neglect.” he added.

The police chief praised the local communities in the nationalist areas for their “assistance”.

“Members of the public rang in to report that potentially dangerous petrol bombs were being prepared at Strabane Old Road and elsewhere.

“I want to praise the community for their co-operation. That co-operation not only shows a growing trend of support for the police service locally but is a sign that the public are fed up with the behaviour of these hooligans.”

Chief Inspector Burrows called on the public to report any information on “anyone they believe was involved in disorder”.

He added: “Petrol bombs are potentially lethal devices and I can only hope that we don’t end up with someone killed or seriously injured and disfigured.”

Among those arrested in connection with Derry rioting this week were a 14 year-old, four 16 year-olds including a female, a 17 year-old and four 18 year-olds.