Community workers in Limavady have claimed youths aged as young as 11 are dabbling in drugs and causing havoc in local estates.
Community workers who spoke with the ‘Journal’ said anti-social behaviour was a problem in the Glens and Coolessan areas in recent weeks, with young people engaging in drug taking and vandalising vacant
One worker said not having dedicated neighbourhood police officers in the area made it easier for the problems to grow.
“Breaking windows, smashing up proprties - just general wrecking and tearing,” said the worker.
“Some of the youths, some as young as 11, are smoking cannabis. We know because they’re telling us. The problem is parents are afraid to speak out about it.”
Another community worker said: “Houses that are lying vacant are being targeted and it’s creating fear among people in the community.
“Police are aware of the problems, but the problem is catching the perpetrators.”
From October-December 2014, there were 112 incidents of anti social behaviour in Limavady town, according to PSNI figures. Of that, 31 were in and around the Glens and Coolessan areas.
Area Commander, Chief Inspector Alan Hutton said: “We are committed to working with communities and community representatives to tackle the issue of drugs and distribution. We will act on all information received in order to keep communities safe.
“I can assure local residents and local business people that we are committed to making the streets of Limavady a safe place to live and work in and we are working to tackle the issue of crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour in the area.
“We will continue to work with local representatives and partner agencies to find resolutions to anti-social behaviour. We know and recognise that people within the community are working very hard to deal with these issues. We also understand that behind any statistics there are personal and individual stories of people who have been victims of crime and we are continuing to do everything we can to tackle the issue of crime effectively.”
Insp. Hutton said “policing remains a 24-hour, seven days a week operation and we will patrol in vehicles and on foot, carry out searches, arrest criminals and the public will continue to see police on a daily basis”.