Police called to scene as number of vehicles are damaged and set alight by youths

Police are attacked in the Markets area of Belfast
Police are attacked in the Markets area of Belfast

Police are on the ground dealing with disturbances after a group of young people damaged and set alight cars in Belfast.

Cars were pelted with stones in the Stewart Street in area of the Markets in the city and some of the vehicles were torched.

The scene at Stewart Street in Belfast.

The scene at Stewart Street in Belfast.

It is understood the trouble is linked to the removal of materials from a republican bonfire in the area this morning.

A Belfast City Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that bonfire material was removed from a car park during an operation in The Markets area today.”

Pictures emerged on social media showing significant damage to the cars.

One eyewitness who works close to The Markets said: "At least three white vans with trailers rolled in about 9 o'clock this morning and started to remove pallets from what I assume was their internment bonfire.

Riot police on the streets

Riot police on the streets

"The contractors left the site before 10 this morning, but by about 2 o'clock there were gangs of kids hanging about and they were throwing stones at cars going past and then a couple of cars got burnt out.

"A lot of parked cars have been scraped and damaged in that area in recent weeks, but I think this trouble was about their bonfire materials being removed."

PSNI Inspector Jamie Hughes said: “The physical removal of bonfire material is not within our remit, but we work with other agencies to support them as they carry out their duties.

“This morning, contractors removed bonfire materials from the Stewart Street area.

A car on fire in the Markets area

A car on fire in the Markets area

“Police were in attendance to ensure there were no breaches of the peace and no intimidation of workers or members of the public.”

This vehicle appears to have been set alight

This vehicle appears to have been set alight

The Stewart Street area of Belfast

The Stewart Street area of Belfast

Police at the scene at Stewart Street

Police at the scene at Stewart Street