Stone-throwing teens ‘endangering lives’ in Newtownabbey train attacks

Stone-throwing youths have caused ‘significant’ criminal damage to trains in the Newtownabbey area in recent days.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 6:31 pm

On Friday (April 23) around 7.10pm stones were hurled at a train from the Rush Park area. The same window was hit twice, cracking on the first occasion and smashing completely on the second.

It followed a similar incident two evenings earlier. Just before 8.50pm last Wednesday, missiles were thrown at a moving train from the M2 Shore Road/Greencastle area. The outer window of a carriage was hit and damaged. There were no reports of physical injuries.

Translink has appealed to parents to help bring the attacks to an end.

Police have appealed for information..

In a statement, a spokesperson for the transport provider said: “Three trains sustained broken windows following stone throwing incidents last week. Thankfully, there were no injuries.

“Safety of our passengers and staff is our top priority and we utterly condemn this kind of anti-social behaviour.

“The trains were removed for repair and while now back in service, the repair cost from this vandalism is significant.

“We are working closely with local representatives and the local PSNI Neighbourhood Policing Team to address anti-social behaviour at or near our train tracks and stations. We urge parents and guardians to be aware of the whereabouts of their children, particularly at evenings and weekends.”

The spokesperson added that Translink operates a reward scheme of up to £1,000 for a member of the public who witnesses anti-social incidents against its staff, vehicles or property and is prepared to give evidence in court, resulting in a conviction.

The PSNI warned of a potential threat to life from the attacks.

Sergeant McAleese said: “I’m appealing, in the first instance, to those responsible. Your behaviour is senseless and dangerous. It’s not just the follow-on disruption and financial cost of repairs, you are risking the safety, even lives, of those on-board, from the driver to children and families.

“Please, stop and think of the potential consequences of your actions; and consider the impact of getting a criminal record.

“We will continue to work alongside Translink to tackle this issue and we are committed to working together to ensure the safety of members of the public and Translink staff.

“Parents and guardians, I am appealing to you to do everything you can to prevent young people from becoming involved or caught up in these activities. Know where your children are, who they are with and what they are doing.”

Macedon UUP Councillor Robert Foster has also appealed to parents to explain to their children the consequences of such actions.

Cllr Foster said: “I totally condemn these mindless attacks at Greencastle and Rush Park. It is only through luck that no one was seriously injured. These types of attacks must stop before we are dealing with more than damage to rolling stock.

“I would encourage parents to not only know what their children are up to, but also discuss with them the serious consequences that can result from indiscriminate attacks on trains by throwing objects at windows.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1756 of 23/04/21.

Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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