Teens cause disorder at Ballyclare War Memorial
Police are increasing patrols in Ballyclare after a disturbance in the Ballynure Road area of the town on Saturday evening.
Officers were tasked to Ballyclare War Memorial Park to deal with dozens of teenagers, who were involved in anti-social behaviour.
Sergeant Boyd said: “A large crowd of teenagers, who had gathered in the area, were drinking alcohol, smashing bottles and causing a disturbance. Police attended and spoke to a number of youths, and our enquiries are ongoing.
“While this may seem like fun to the culprits, it is distressing for everyone else – from residents to dog walkers and those who love this green space.
“We’re committed to tackling this situation. We’re working with others, including community representatives, schools and the council. We have increased our presence and are carrying out additional patrols in the area.”
Sgt Boyd added: “I am appealing to anyone who witnesses, or who is affected by, incidents of such anti-social behaviour to contact police immediately.
“I am also asking parents or guardians to know what their children are doing outside of the home and to make it clear that underage drinking and any behaviour that impacts negatively will not be tolerated. Young people could find themselves with a criminal record, which has all sorts of consequences.”
Staff from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council cleared the site on January 5.
A spokesperson for the local authority said: “Litter was cleared early on Sunday morning following reports of alleged anti-social behaviour in the War Memorial Park on Saturday. Behaviour of this nature should be reported to the PSNI immediately.”
Independent Ballyclare representative, Cllr Michael Stewart believes opportunities need to be created for the town’s young people to discourage them from getting involved in similar behaviour.
Speaking to the Times, Cllr Stewart said: “Sadly, in spite of much good work being done by many groups and organisations in our community, this type of behaviour is becoming all too common, not just in Ballyclare, but in towns across Northern Ireland.
“There can be no quick fixes, no easy answers, so we must work even harder together as elected representatives, as educators, as community leaders and as parents or guardians to understand the underlying issues that are creating this behaviour and deliver solutions that will address them both in the short and longer term.
“We have so many wonderful young people doing amazing things, with the potential to achieve even more. We owe it to them to create an environment that encourages and supports them and provides the opportunities that will discourage them from getting involved in the type of behaviour we saw last weekend.”