Police concern over organised fights

Police in Foyle are investigating reports of an assault in the Gobnascale area of the Waterside during the early hours of Saturday morning, April 7.

At around 1am, a 28-year-old man who was walking on the Strabane Old Road was assaulted by a group of unknown youths. He was knocked to the ground, punched and kicked and is believed to have been knocked unconscious for a time.

Earlier, at around midnight on Friday, April 6, police were called to reports of a large group of youths, both male and female, gathered in the Corrody Road area. It is believed they had gathered as a result of an organised fight arranged via BlackBerry Messenger - or BBM - on mobile phones.

Police responded and the large group dispersed. Police also received reports of damage to a number of cars on the Corrody Road where the youths had gathered. Anyone who had their vehicle damaged is asked to report it to police.

Police believe these incidents are linked and are asking anyone who was in the Corrody Road or Old Strabane Road areas on Friday night /Saturday morning to contact them.

Police are also asking parents to be aware of the dangers associated with organising fights via social media or mobile phones.

Inspector William Mulligan urged parents to take responsibility for what their children get up to when out and about in the evenings and weekends with their friends.

He said, “Parents need to advise their children about the dangers of getting caught up in this sort of behaviour. These fights must stop.

“What may start off between one or two people could quickly escalate and the potential for serious injury cannot be underestimated. Younger children in particular could find themselves being drawn into a situation that is potentially very dangerous.

“I am urging schools, parents and community groups to help me reinforce this message to our young people. I am also asking anyone with information regarding this type of behaviour to come forward and tell us what you know. The number to call is 0845 600 8000.”