Children aged just eight and nine were involved in an early-morning spree of destruction in Derry’s city centre over the weekend, the Derry Journal can reveal.
Police said they were “shocked” at the ages of children involved as a gang embarked on a trail of destructive anti-social behaviour, including fire-starting and throwing badly-needed lifebelts into the River Foyle.
A PSNI spokesman said: “City Centre Police and Fire Service attended numerous reports of a gang of youths involved in anti-social behaviour, throwing life saving equipment from the Peace Bridge and setting fires in the city centre.
“We would like to reassure the community that we quickly identified and apprehended all the suspects.
“We therefore want to thank everyone who phoned in and assisted the emergency services. However we have been shocked by the young age of those involved and would appeal to parents to make sure you know what your children are up to and who they are with.”
Asked by the Derry Journal what ages of children were involved, Sgt Cathal Pearce, City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Three boys were spoken to in relation to a number of incidents in the early hours of Saturday and were taken home by police. They are aged 8, 9 and 12.
“ The incidents have been referred to the police Youth Diversions Officer.”