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Falls Park forced to close early due to anti-social youths

Falls Park in west Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Marie Louise McConville

POLICE were forced to close Falls Park early after a crowd of up 150 youths gathered to engage in anti-social behaviour.

The PSNI said officers took action to shut the popular west Belfast park on Wednesday after the crowd made the area "unsafe".

In a separate incident on Thursday night one male was detained by police for drinking and abusive behaviour.

A post on the PSNI West Belfast Facebook page said: "Unsafe because of the general disorder. Unsafe because of the stone throwing. And not just clodding at police. Any car or pedestrian on the Falls or Whiterock seems to be fair game for these hooligans".

Officers warned parents if they wanted to "stop your child being caught up in the criminality or being injured in the violence please keep them away from the Falls Park".

Residents living nearby who took to the page to leave comments said they had experienced problems at first hand with one person claiming that some of those involved in the behaviour were as young as 11.

Another said the problem was "getting out order every weekend", claiming youths were seen burning trees, pulling out plants, smashing bottles and drinking.

A park user said people are "scared to go in for a walk" while another said a family member's windscreen had been broken by missiles being thrown from the park.

A spokesman for Belfast City Council, which is responsible for the Falls Park, said: "Anti-social behaviour is a problem across the city and can escalate over school holidays.

"We are actively operating in joint patrols across the city with our PCSP Community Safety Officers and Park Wardens, in conjunction with PSNI.

"We monitor and patrol all our parks and open spaces to try and deter any forms of anti-social behaviour. At the moment, we are engaging with the PSNI to ensure that we continue to monitor areas of regular anti-social behaviour."

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