Twelve hours of anti-social mayhem leaves trail of destruction across west Belfast
THOUSANDS of pounds worth of damage has been caused after 12 hours of anti-social mayhem left a trail of destruction across west Belfast.
A 23-year-old man is due in court this morning after a milk lorry was stolen in the city centre and crashed into cars and crushed bollards before smashing into the wall of a house on Cavendish Street's junction with Oakman Street.
He is charged with 40 separate offences.
The theft of the large refrigerated truck happened during milk deliveries on Saturday morning and several cars were damaged in related collisions at Clonard Gardens, Dunville Park and Leeson Street, before it finally came to rest, apparently having driven the wrong way up a one-way street.
Among the charges the arrested man will face at Belfast magistrates court are aggravated vehicle taking causing injury, aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to a number of vehicles and driving while disqualified.
Meanwhile, by 5pm that evening, more than 150 youths had congregated at nearby Falls Park where they were drinking alcohol and causing disturbances.
Anti-social behaviour at the park escalated during the evening, with stones and bottles thrown at passing motorists and bottles at nearby commercial premises, causing damage to a window.
Police dispatched to the area came under attack from the crowd.
The PSNI air support unit was also deployed and the youths eventually dispersed.
There were no arrests.
Saturday evening's trouble has been linked to a pattern of such gatherings in different parts of the city.
SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said not all those in the park were from the area as the mass meet-ups are organised by "young teenagers" across the city.
"It was a serious incident, given the numbers of young people involved," he said.
"Police were on the scene and we all have to work hard as a community and as parents to take responsibility for where are children are at night and what they are doing."
Inspector McCullough warned that those involved risk "getting a criminal conviction, which could damage opportunities to travel, study or get the job you want".