Young couple terrorised as youths go on rampage on election day

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A young couple living in the Ballymagroarty area say they suffered a night of terror on polling day when marauding youths kicked down their back gate and torched their wheelie bin.

The family, who asked not to be identified, said they felt for the safety of their infant son, whose baby food containers were strewn around the streets by the vandals in the wake of the incident.

SDLP Councillor John Boyle said his party had been in touch with the couple and that he would provide them with whatever assistance he can.

Mr. Boyle said the incidents were probably directly linked to the fact that an election was taking place and that some anti-social elements had decided to use the occasion to attack police and their neighbours.

“Unfortuantely, this wan’t an isolated incident,” he said. “In fact, there were disturbances at polling station in Ballymagroarty, in Galliagh and in Creggan on Thursday.

“I personally witnessed an elderly couple who were narrowly missed by a bottle that was thrown from a height as they were going in to vote in Ballymagroarty.

“I would again urge parents to pay attention to where their children and young people are.

“I also know that a number of cars were stoned. I would encourage anyone caught up in the disturbances to get in touch with our constituency office and if we can be of any assistance we will.”

Police in Derry confirmed that they received a number of reports of anti-social behaviour in the Ballymagroarty, Galliagh and Creggan areas on Thursday.

The reports included paint bombs being thrown in the Ringfort Road area, election posters being taken down in the Bogside area and police were called to the Glengalliagh Road area after receiving reports of youths setting fire to bollards.

Further incidents included a wheelie bin being stolen from a house in the Ballymagroarty area and set alight and debris being set alight by youths in the Fergleen Park area.

Inspector Mullan said: “We understand the extent to which anti-social behaviour can have an adverse effect on the quality of life for the people affected by it.

“We are here to listen to community concerns and work with others to find a solution to any problems they may have.”

Inspector Mullan added: “This work includes enforcement - making arrests – and education – helping our young people understand the impact this type of activity can have on the victim.

“We also would ask parents to know where their children are and to play a role in preventing them from becoming involved in behaviour which could see them with a criminal record.

“I would encourage the public to report incidents of antisocial behaviour to police at the earliest opportunity in a bid to help prevent and detect crime. Anyone with any information on these recent incidents or with general concerns regarding anti-social behaviour should contact police in Strand Road on 101.”