“Shameless”

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A gang of drunken teenagers turned Fern Park in Galliagh into something like a scene from the TV show Shameless on St Patrick’s Night, it’s been claimed.

Wheelie bins were pulled from residents’ back yards and set on fire while an abandoned sofa was pulled up around the makeshift bonfire.

One local resident, who did not wish to be named, said the drinking had gone on until 6am on Friday.

“They had already started when I got home around 5.30pm and there were around 20 to 30 boys and girls already there,” she said.

“I actually had to get the taxi driver to stop before he ran over a half bottle of spirits which was lying in the road, so it’s not just beer and cider they were drinking.

“The noise went on all evening and I had my five-year-old son with me who I was trying to get to sleep and who was crying with all the noise, but you are just too frightened to approach them.

“We rang the police twice but the first time they said they were busy with it being St Patrick’s Day and the second time they said they would send someone out, but no-one turned up,” she claimed.

“It was about half twelve when I decided to go to bed and looked out the window and saw that the two wheelie bins were gone. Then later I could hear other bins being dragged out of other people’s houses as well. Then on Friday morning you could see the remains of the burned out bins.

“There was a sofa and some chairs which someone had maybe been throwing out. The sofa had been dragged out into the road and the chairs were just gone. It was like something out of Shameless.

“Now that the longer evenings are coming in, you just worry that this is going to be the start of this happening all summer long.”

Local councillor Tony Hassan says Derry City Council has responded to anti-social behaviour from teenagers by passing strict by-laws.

“But there is no point in politicians working to try and solve the problems local communities face if the PSNI do not enforce them,” he said.

“There are very few areas in the town now where anyone can drink on the streets, but yet every Friday and Saturday night young people gather in areas like Fern Park, Moss Park, Carnhill and other areas in the city and nothing is done.

“The PSNI have the powers to confiscate drink from people aged under the age of 18. If the PSNI are called out to deal with young people then it is imperative that they respond because if they don’t that leaves a vacuum and that’s the last thing that we need.”

The PSNI were not available for comment at the time of going to press