Some residents in the Glens area of Limavadysay they feel like prisoners in their own homes because of groups of up to 50 youths running amok in the estate with fireworks.
Residents also fear someone will be seriously injured, or worse, unless those messing around with fireworks stop.
People are fed up with this carry-on, and people are feared. We have a lot of senior citizens in the area, and they are terrified.Glens resident
The stark warning comes as a woman and child escaped injury in the town on Monday after fireworks thrown narrowly missed them.
Police said following the incident, which occurred at approximately 1.30pm in a car park in the Coolessan area, officers made two arrests for possession of fireworks and throwing fireworks in a public place. Those arrested were aged 15 and 22.
“On Monday we received a report of three youths throwing fireworks. One of the fireworks landed close to a woman placing a child into a car. Fortunately, there were no injuries,” said a PSNI spokesperson.
“As a result, police responded and through information received, two arrests for possession of fireworks and throwing fireworks in a public place were made.”
Glens residents who spoke with the ‘Journal’ say youths have been hurling fireworks at each other, shop doors and passing cars.
The anti-social behaviour is having such an impact on residents that those who spoke with the ‘Journal’ claim they feel like “prisoners in our own homes”.
“Last Saturday night in here in Limavady was like Beirut,” said one resident.
“They were throwing fireworks at each other, taking aim at people and dropping them amongst each other. They don’t care - cars, letterboxes, you name it. There must have been between 40 and 50 of them at it. I don’t think they’re from this estate at all, but from other areas.”
The resident say complaints have been reported to police, stating: ““People are fed up with this carry-on, and people are feared. We have a lot of senior citizens in the area, and they are terrified.
“There is nothing we feel we can do. The ones involved in this need to realise someday they will be old too. The sooner Hallowe’en is over the better.”
Another resident said: “It’s crazy what’s happening. It never stopped all last weekend. It was non-stop, just desperate. It’s up to the police to catch them, but they can’t be around 24-7, but then it’s getting them,” said the resident.
Police say they will be “active throughout the town in the days up to Halloween”.
“We want to hear about people who misuse fireworks, or of any suspicions of fireworks being illegally held or sold. Quite apart from the dangers, a conviction for a fireworks offence could have long-term effects on the future of those involved,” said a PSNI spokesperson.
Sinn Fein councillor Brenda Chivers urged those involved to stop, stating: “These people need to realise firewowrks are not a toy and can be very dangerous to themselves and to others. I also condemn those involved in selling fireworks without a licence, which has been introduced to protect people from the potential dangers fireworks can pose. My biggest fear is someone is going to be killed or lose a hand or finger, or be permanently disfigured.”
SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan said: “Anyone selling illegal fireworks which, most likely, are not manufactured to recognised standards are playing with other people’s lives and deserve very heavy penalties for doing so. Jail is too good for them.”