‘PSNI must act on joyriders’ - Hassan

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The PSNI have been accused of failing to tackle joyriding across the Greater Shantallow area following the latest in a string of episodes.

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan also claimed that local people and the police knew that the same gang were responsible for much of the car crime that was taking place.

He was speaking as local politicians slammed joyriders who stole a car on Christmas Eve before driving it on to a popular pedestrian walkway to the rear of Knockalla Park in Galliagh on Christmas Eve and torching it.

Police have launched an appeal for information following this, the latest in a string of similar episodes across the Greater Shantallow area in recent months.

Detectives at Strand Road have confirmed that they are investigating the circumstances in which the stolen red Citroen Xsara car was abandoned in Galliagh.

A PSNI spokesman said they were keen to speak to anyone who was in the area around 8pm last Thursday, and who may have seen the car or those inside it.

The incident occurred just days after another car was torched in the Sandale area.

There have also other episodes of cars being stolen and burnt out across Ballymagroarty, Carnhill, Shantallow and Galliagh over recent months.

Colr. Hassan told the Journal “There have been a number of cars stolen and burnt and it is the same crowd that is doing it. Something needs to be done to stop this. It is a nightmare for people to come out and find their car not there but burned out down the street. It’s a disgrace. The PSNI need to be making more patrols and if they do lift people in such circumstances they should not be let out within a few hours. People are fed up with it- if you did a survey of local people this is what they would be saying to you.”

SDLP Councillor for the area Brian Tierney urged people to be vigilant and to look out for their neighbours’ property.

“These people are putting everybody at risk because nine times out of ten these cars aren’t been driven legally but the drivers are rallying about, and torching it as well in the middle of estates is obviously dangerous.

“We will continue to engage with local people to try and eradicate this problem, working in conjunction with the Community Safety Team and the local wardens and all the statutory agencies to see what we can do,” he added.