Northern Ireland news

Schoolboy (15) put wheelie bin on railway line 'to entice police'

The 15-year-old appeared at Lisburn Magistrates Court facing charges over disorder in Lurgan. Picture by Aidan O'Reilly

A 15-year-old schoolboy admitted putting a wheelie bin on a railway line "to entice police into the area" a court has heard.

The teenager, who cannot be identified because of his age, appeared at Lisburn Magistrates Court where he was charged with three offences arising from public disorder in the Kilwilkie area of Lurgan, Co Armagh on Monday when two police officers were injured.

Standing outside the dock flanked by prison officers with his parents close by in the public gallery, he was charged with arson, placing a wheelie bin on the railway line and rioting at Lake Street in the town on March 28.

A police officer said she believed she could connect the boy to the offences and despite his young age, PSNI were objecting to bail.

She told the court that during police interviews, the teenager admitted he had put the bin on the train line "to stop the railway and to entice police into the area".

The court heard "there was a group of around 40 people around most of the day" and the schoolboy had also admitted that he had been "with about 30 of those persons from about 2pm".

During an exchange with District Judge Amanda Henderson, she agreed "there was an element of peer pressure from older persons involved" and that the teenager has "no record whatsoever".

Releasing the boy on his own bail of £75 with his father to stand as a £500 surety, the judge told him he was only being freed "because of your age and because there's a presumption of bail for someone your age".

Judge Henderson warned the teenager that if he breached any of the conditions or reoffended in anyway, his father would lose that money "and it's unlikely that you will be released again".

"I emphasise these are serious offences," she said.

"It's unusual for someone with no record to come to court with offences of this gravity and it's only because of your age, clear parental support and clear record that I'm persuaded to grant you bail."

As part of his bail conditions, the schoolboy is barred from covering his head or face in anyway in public to conceal his identity and from associating with any more than two people under 18 unless going to or returning from school.

He has must also observe a curfew at his home from 10pm to 8am.

The teenager is next due before the Youth Court on April 12.

Another 15-year-old boy has been charged with riotous behaviour, making a petrol bomb and throwing a petrol bomb and is expected to appear at that same court hearing.

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