Waterside DUP Councillor David Ramsey says he spent Bank Holiday Monday morning with concerned residents of the Bond’s Street area after what he described as a “sectarian rampage” by drunken youths on Sunday.
Police in Londonderry confirmed to the Sentinel that a large crowd of youths were dispersed from May Street shortly before 11pm after reports of a disturbance in the area, which resulted in a car being stoned.
“Police received reports of a disturbance involving a large group of young people in the May Street area of Derry/Londonderry around 10.45pm last night, Sunday, May 29,” a PSNI spokesperson confirmed.
“Police also received a report that a car had been damaged when a stone had been thrown at it. Police responded and the young people dispersed. There were no arrests made at the time.
“Police enquiries into the incident are continuing,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Ramsey said the disturbance was a spill over from the large crowds of drunken youths gathering in St Columb’s Park during the recent spell of good weather at the weekend.
Two weeks ago this paper reported how crowds of drunken, pyromanic youths were intimidating users of St Columb’s Park.
At the time DUP MLA Gary Middleton called for co-ordinated action, to prevent a long, hot summer of anti-social behaviour.
Now Councillor Ramsey has reiterated these calls.
The Waterside Councillor has also suggested the loyalist Bond’s Street area may have been targeted for sectarian reasons.
“I spent this morning with residents in Bond’s Street/May Street and also with local community leaders after a sectarian rampage last night by drunken youths in the area.
“This once again is a spill over from anti-social behaviour in St Columb’s Park. Police have reassured me that extra resources like last year will be put in place to stamp out this behaviour and anyone going to the park with alcohol will have it confiscated,” he said.
He claimed residents of Bond’s Street did not want to be left in the unenviable quandary of having to defend their own homes from attack.
“The park and surrounding areas must be protected from this type of behaviour and local residents should not have to take the law into their own hands to protect their property.
“We will continue to work with the local residents and authorities to stamp this out. St Columb’s park like all parks should be free of into social behaviour,” said Mr Ramsey.
A fortnight ago Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed to the Sentinel that it was liaising with Community Wardens with a view to stepping up patrols in the area.
“The park has seen a substantial increase in visitor numbers due to the good weather with groups of teenagers gathering in the area in the evenings,” a spokesperson stated.
But the Council has urged people to contact the police if they have any concerns about anti-social behaviour.
“We would urge anyone with concerns over anti-social behaviour at the park to please contact the PSNI directly.
“We have also been liaising with the Community Wardens with a view to stepping up their presence in the area over the coming days and our park wardens will continue to monitor the situation.
“We would like to remind people that St Columb’s Park is an important shared space used regularly by children and every effort is made to ensure it remains a safe and family friendly space.
“Council welcomes feedback from park users, and anyone with any concerns relating to the park is asked to report these directly to Council’s Park Management Team on 71 253253,” the Council spokesperson said.
Two weeks ago the PSNI also urged people to report anti-social behaviour.
“We would ask members of the community to continue to report any concerns so police can respond and prevent further nuisance.
“Police are aware that in many instances, alcohol is a major factor in many incidents of anti-social behaviour. With that in mind, we would ask parents to talk to their young people about the consequences of underage drinking.
“Underage drinking may seem like harmless fun but someone may become a little more vulnerable and things can spiral out of control quickly. We do not want to spoil anyone’s fun but the fact is that it is illegal to consume alcohol when you are under the age of 18 and police have the power to seize your alcohol.”