YOUTHS who have been terrorising Waringstown sank to new lows with lewd behaviour at the village’s Presbyterian Church hall.
The brazen youths stole an iPod while children were watching a film in the church hall and when disturbed by an adult, one of the youths exposed himself.
This is the latest in a litany of thefts and anti-social behaviour plaguing the village.
Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has called on the PSNI to step up its activities to stamp out anti-social behaviour “including the worrying trend in youth crime in the village”.
Mrs Dobson slammed the theft of the iPod which belonged to someone attending the church function and the lewd behaviour of the intruders. The incident happened on Saturday, November 17.
“This most recent incident illustrates the type of feral behaviour which cannot be allowed to continue in the village,” she said.
“I have previously held a constructive meeting with Chief Inspector Anthony McNally and Inspector Ken Annett to raise concerns on behalf of members of the public who have approached my office.
“Waringstown residents are concerned about the measures which are being used to tackle anti-social behaviour, and I have brought these concerns directly to the PSNI.
“While these issues are certainly not confined to Waringstown village, the fear of crime is always present within our local communities especially as we build up to the darker Christmas period. Darker nights can lead to an increasing nervousness, especially among the elderly and vulnerable which contributes directly to a greater sense of social isolation. “
Mrs Dobson said a joint approach is needed between the PSNI, churches, schools, social workers and the community.
“However, I cannot stress strongly enough that members of the public must inform the police of any incidents of anti-social behaviour.”
The PSNI said it is working with residents in Waringstown to tackle anti-social behaviour and agree that a partnership approach is essential to find lasting solutions.
Area Commander, Chief Inspector Anthony McNally, said: “Neighbourhood and Response officers work hard to provide a personal and professional service to the residents of Waringstown and the rest of Craigavon, however our resources are finite and this is why a partnership approach is essential.
“We will do our utmost to detect and deter this type of activity but our young people also have to be educated about the consequences of antisocial behaviour, the effect it can have on other people and how this and criminal behaviour can affect their opportunities later on in life.
“We will respond to all community concerns so it is essential that crime and anti-social behaviour is reported to us. We can only act on the information provide to us.
“We will continue to work with local residents, partner agencies and local councillors and political representatives to encourage reporting of crime and to find a way forward.”
Regarding the incident, a PSNI spokesperson said: “Police in Craigavon received a report of an iPod being taken from a church hall on Mill Hill, Waringstown on Saturday night, 17 November.
“The report followed an earlier incident where a teenage male had been verbally abusive to a youth leader before leaving the premises.
Police attended and carried out a thorough check of the area around the church. The area was found to be quiet. It was further reported to police that it could not be confirmed if the iPod was missing or stolen.
“Enquiries are ongoing.”