Fears for youths drinking at fast-flowing Co Armagh river as anti-social behaviour spikes

Groups of young people gathering and drinking at the Cusher River are putting their lives at risk, says a local councillor as the scourge of anti-social behaviour spikes.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 11:42 am

Police have been dealing with waves of anti-social behaviour in the Tandragee, Richhill and Laurelvale last weekend and it is mostly caused by young teenagers who have travelled to those areas.

Saturday night in all three areas, the PSNI’s Armagh Neighbourhood Policing Team were out in force after receiving multiple complaints from residents and local representatives about anti-social behaviour.

The PSNI described these as ‘ongoing problems’ and said: “We are asking parents to know where their children are when they are out at night.

“Some young people have travelled quite a distance to our area and were causing annoyance to residents in several areas.

“We want to keep our young people safe and we will be continuing with these patrols in the next few weeks.”

The PSNI said: “These are young teenagers involved, police do not have exact ages of these young people.

“Some of those spoken to by police have been from the wider Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon area and have been in the area visiting with friends.”

PSNI’s Armagh Neighbourhood Policing Team on patrol.

DUP Cllr Gareth Wilson said: “I have received a number of reports from residents in both Laurelvale, Richhill and Tandragee regarding gatherings and general antisocial behaviour which I directly relayed to the PSNI.

“I welcome the proactive response by the PSNI and their message to young people to avoid being involved in anti social behaviour,” said Cllr Wilson.

“In terms of Tandragee I am aware that young people have been gathering close to the Cusher river and that obviously carries its own set of risks, particularly when alcohol is involved being close to what can be a fast flowing watercourse.

“Incidents of fire starting at Laurelvale Play Park has also been reported to the PSNI which is obviously not wanted in any area let alone a recently refurbished play facility.

“I welcome the ongoing efforts of the PSNI in this regard and reiterate their message to parents to ensure they know where their children are at all times.”

Cllr Paul Berry said: “I have been speaking to the PSNI a over recent days following complaints in relation to anti-social behaviour in these areas.

“Sadly there have been elements causing general nuisance in the neighbourhood and in one case a small fire was lit in a local play park which is even more disturbing,” said Cllr Berry.

“I would appeal for locals to report such behaviour to the PSNI.

“Young people can socialise with each other and I would encourage that but not by being a nuisance to others or vandalism in any shape or form. I do not wish to label all young people as many are not involved.”

Ulster Unionist Cllr Jim Speers said: “This anti-social behaviour is very disturbing for the local residents.

“Most of these young people want to have fun and I am all for that but I am also concerned that some of these young people may end up with a criminal record.”

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