Northern Ireland

Children as young as six involved in disorder in Derry that saw petrol bombs thrown at police

Police had been called to the Creggan area to investigate a sudden death

Police came under attack in Derry last night
Police came under attack in Derry on Tuesday night

Police say children as young as six are believed to have been involved in disorder in Derry as officers were attacked with petrol bombs.

Masonry, paint and fireworks were also thrown at police in the Creggan area after they had been called to the scene earlier on Tuesday to investigate a sudden death.

A security alert was subsequently sparked following the discovery of a suspicious device in Southway at around 7.45pm.

In a statement on Wednesday, police said officers had been in the area on Tuesday afternoon “dealing with a sudden death in Magowan Park”.

Statement – Creggan security alert update A security alert in Creggan, which sparked disorder in the area last night, Tuesday 9th July, has ended after being declared an elaborate hoax:

Posted by Police Derry City & Strabane on Wednesday 10 July 2024

“As officers were conducting enquiries in relation to this, they made the discovery,” a spokesperson said.

“A public safety operation was implemented with cordons put in place, however, up until around midnight, there was disorder with paint and petrol bombs, heavy masonry and fireworks being thrown at police.

“Some of those involved were children.

“Those involved in the disorder dispersed around midnight.

“Following examination of the suspicious device by Ammunition Technical Officers, the alert was described as an elaborate hoax.”

A 36-year-old man arrested by police dealing with the disorder is due to appear in court on Thursday.

He has been charged with the offences of riot, criminal damage and disorderly behaviour and is expected to appear before Derry Magistrates Court.

Derry City & Strabane area commander, chief superintendent Gillian Kearney described the disorder that developed as “utterly senseless”.

“That disorder occurred as officers were dealing with such a sensitive incident is shameful,” she said.

“It also serves to damage local communities and divert our resources away from dealing with the things that matter most.

“There are reports of children as young as six and seven years old being involved.

“This is child criminal exploitation.

“We know from the work our officers do on a daily basis, what happened last night will have provoked anger in the local community and wider area.”

While damage was caused to police vehicles, there were no injuries reported.

SDLP MP Colum Eastwood said the disorder was “clearly unacceptable”.

“It’s particularly disheartening to hear reports that children may have been involved, risking their own futures for thoughtless attacks on police land rovers,” he said.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood called on people to reject racism.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood

“People in Derry don’t want this, we all want a future together and at peace with our neighbours. And none of us want to see children throwing opportunities away by getting involved in this.”

DUP MLA Gary Middleton said: “There can be no excuse for such violence and I hope that everyone will point the blame solely towards those who orchestrated and engaged in such shameful behaviour”.

Alliance MLA Peter McReynolds described the trouble as “disgraceful” adding that those responsible “achieved nothing other than bringing misery upon their own area, including the potential for criminal records harming future prospects”.