Anti-social attacks sparks call to parents

The cannabis handed in to Ballymagroarty Community Empowerment.
The cannabis handed in to Ballymagroarty Community Empowerment.

A plea has gone out to parents across Derry to make sure their children are not involved in anti-social behaviour following a weekend of mayhem across Ballymagroarty.

Patrols are to be stepped up after a number of homes were attacked, including that of a gay couple, who had someone urinate through their letter box on Saturday night while an attempt was made to break down their front door in an apparent homophobic incident.

Another home has also been targeted by youths, while an attempt was made to damage roof tiles at a local shop, and a taxi phoned into the area came under attack.

Prior to this 12 kilogrammes of cannabis was handed in to grassroots organisation, Ballymagroarty Community Empowerment (BCE).

BCE representatives were on the ground throughout the weekend.

Spokesman Kevin Coyle said: “The situation had actually calmed down there for a while but over the last couple of days it has really escalated. We are getting complaints about groups of at times up to 50 youths running about the estate, youths coming in from other areas.

“A fellow actually came to us last week with the drugs, and we have since passed them to Time2Choose. It’s good news that this stuff is off the streets.”

The BCE yesterday issued an “ urgent call out to parents of children of the ages of 12 to 14 who allow there children to come to Ballymagroarty”.

“Can you please stop sending your kids here in taxis. Your children are coming into Ballymagroarty and being nothing but trouble,” the group has urged.

Sinn Féin councillor Eric McGinley has also called on parents to ensure they know the whereabouts of their children at night. He said: “It must be pointed out that although the vast majority of these kids are not causing any problems there are however a small minority causing problems for local residents.

“Community Restorative Justice have agreed to put a number of home safety measures in place for some of those affected. Youth workers will be on the streets at night time over the next few weeks should any of the young people wish to talk to them. I have also been in contact with the PSNI and the Community Safety Wardens who have assured me that they will be focusing their resources in the area.”