Vandals damage cars in Milltown incident

POLICE were forced to maintain an all-night presence in the Tullyally area in the early hours of Friday morning following a gang attack on cars in the area.

Three vehicles, understood to belong to an elderly man, young woman and another resident in the Milltown View and Crescent areas were damaged by a gang of youths believed to have come from the nearby Currynierin estate.

As a result, a community worker has appealed to the PSNI to maintain a presence in the area until after the marching season is over.

The chairman of the District policing Partnership, DUP Alderman Joe Miller, has condemned the attack.

Labelling those responsible as “mindless vandals” he said they had targeted vulnerable people.

“I have been out to see the damage caused and I am greatly saddened and angered that those responsible have chosen to target people, one of whom is elderly, in this way. They are among the most vulnerable groupings in society and should be left in peace. I understand a gang of up to eight young people entered Milltown View from the Currynierin estate between 1am and 2am on Friday morning, and set about damaging vehicles in Milltown View.

“I would appeal to those who did this to examine their conscience and ask themselves how they would feel if it was their grandparents who had been targeted,” he said.

“I have been in touch with the PSNI Commander Chris Yates about this incident and I will be raising this issue at a meeting between ourselves and the police this week. These attacks are unacceptable and I am appealing to those with influence in the community, and especially to parents, to ensure that they know where the children in their care are at all times. Those who carried out this attack should feel ashamed of themselves. They are nothing more than mindless vandals acting in the dead of night. There is nothing heroic or commendable about the damage they have caused,” he said.

Community worker Catherine Cooke described the disturbance in the area as both ‘terrible’ and ‘awful’.

“We put in an awful night,” she said, adding: “By the time I got there those responsible had dispersed and run back up into their own community, so I did not see anybody. However, I know that descriptions of those who did this were given to the police.”

Mrs Cooke went on: “I would call on whoever did this to desist. The residents of Milltownview and Crescent have the right to live in peace. It doesn’t do community relations between the two areas any good when this sort of stuff happens. I am now calling for calm.”

She said community workers were involved in setting up intervention programmes, but added: “It is very difficult to get people into intervention programmes if they feel their community is unprotected. The police were there overnight and I would call on them to maintain a presence in the Milltown area until after the marching season is over. Many of the residents at the interface area are elderly and they need to feel safe in their own homes. Certainly they are not feeling that way at the minute,” she said.

DUP deputy mayor, Drew Thompson condemned the incident and said that sectarian attacks had been carried out on other areas recently.

He added: “There was a petrol bomb attack on a house in Irish Street recently and we are lucky that didn’t lead to a fatality.”

Meanwhile, a PSNI spokeswoman said police had maintained a presence in the area to prevent any further disturbances overnight.

Police are investigating damage caused to three vehicles by youths who gathered in the Milltown Crescent/View area of Tullyally shortly before 1am on Friday. Officers maintained a presence in the area and liaised with community representatives to prevent further disorder,” they said.

The spokeswoman added that police were keen to identify those involved in the disturbance and had appealed for anyone with information to contact them directly on 0845 600 8000 or contact a member of Waterside Neighbourhood Team.