Teen bonfire gang power Xbox from lamppost and boast of petrol bombs
THE lawlessness of a Belfast district is on open display as masked teenagers play a games console plugged into a street light and say they have petrol bombs to protect an internment bonfire.
The teenagers posted the picture of themselves on social media, saying they had ordered take-away food to the site in the New Lodge area and were ready to defend themselves.
August 8 bonfires, which commemorate the anniversary of internment in 1971, have little support among the public and are opposed by Sinn Féin.
In recent years bonfire material in the New Lodge has been removed by the authorities in the days before the anniversary of internment without trial.
The photograph, believed to have been taken on Monday night, was posted with the message: "Newlodge lads with a beatbox, TV & X-box to a lamp, grub on the way and most importantly, petrol bombs at the ready".
It comes following a number of reports of increasing anti-social behaviour in the area, known locally as `The Barracks', which is situated behind Duncairn Parade.
SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said nearby residents had had to "barricade" themselves in their homes at night for their "own safety".
"There has been repeated anti-social behaviour in this part of the New Lodge including homes targeted leaving residents angry and frightened," he said.
"One lady told me that she has to barricade herself in at night for her own safety and is worried that her home might be next.
"No one in the New Lodge deserves to have to live this way and the youths, some not from the area, need to stop terrorising the community".
Mr McCusker said a multi-agency response was needed "to ensure residents can live in peace".
"I would urge parents to please be aware of where their children are at night to ensure they don’t get involved in this and those involved need to be aware that being involved in this behaviour can have serious implications for their future if caught by police," he said.
He added: "Locals feel anti-social elements have control of the this part of the New Lodge and they have no fear of any authority".
Police last night said they "carried out proactive patrols in the New Lodge area" both last night and on Monday night following "incidents of anti-social behaviour".
Chief Inspector Kelly Moore said anyone with information on crime should pass it on to police or the Crimestoppers charity.
“We would re-emphasis the negative impact anti-social behaviour has on local communities. We continue to work closely with community representatives and partner agencies to help detect those involved," she said.