A renewed plea has been made for an end to so-called joyriding in west Belfast after a video surfaced showing alleged perpetrators crashing in to one another.
Among those speaking out following the emergence of the footage – which was reportedly posted online this week via Facebook – was Kevin Fitzpatrick, a Belfast man who was left bereaved through joyriding over 15 years ago.
Mr Fitzpatrick, whose wife and eight-year-old son were killed in nine days before Christmas in north Belfast in 2000, said the group he helped found – Families Bereaved Through Car Crime – would soon begin a new social media push to highlight the dangers of the practice.
Tommy Holland, a friend of Mr Fitzpatrick’s, said those hurt by car crime had experienced “disgust” upon seeing the latest footage.
In the video, which has since been circulated on news websites, two cars career through a tightly-populated residential street – said to be Ross Road, in the republican-dominated Falls district of west Belfast.
They crash into one another, as onlookers watch.
In a statement following news of the latest apparent joyriding incident, Mr Fitzpatrick said: “The way forward is for people in north and west Belfast, and all Belfast, to continue to show our support for the police and get the small-minded thugs off our streets.
“We also need to work as a team. That’s communities, community workers, police, and especially our court system even with new laws they seem to be not using them.
“Families Bereaved Through Car Crime will be setting up its new Facebook/Twitter sites during Road Safety Week this coming November... Together we will all live in a better and safer community.”
In a separate statement, Mr Holland said that “our community cannot stand back and ignore or do nothing to combat this scourge of car crime before it becomes another tragedy for your family or neighbours”.
He said that “we all can be assured that someone is going to be surely killed on our streets, plunging another family into despair, bereaved and grieving for a lost loved one”.
He ended with a plea, that “if you care about you and yours, then help end joyriding”.
The PSNI said that they “are aware of a video which has been circulated on social media showing an appalling example of death driving in the Divis area of west Belfast on Wednesday August 31”.
They said a 15-year-old male had been arrested afterwards.
In a statement, they said: “The two vehicles, a blue coloured Kia reported stolen in the Linenhall Street area of Belfast earlier that afternoon and a silver coloured Honda reported stolen in the Nutts Corner area earlier that day were subsequently recovered by police...
“There have been a number of recently reported incidents where vehicles have been stolen from properties elsewhere and then driven dangerously in the Lower Falls and in other areas of west Belfast. “
They added: “Death drivers are nothing but a blight on the community of West Belfast and they have nothing to offer but death, injury and destruction.
“They have little or no thought for the local community or for the consequences of their actions which are reckless in the extreme.”