Weapons found at social media arranged fights

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SOCIAL media is being used to organise fights in Belfast, in which youths have been found carrying knives and hammers, police have said.

Police say have recently attended a number of incidents in the Brougham Street and Waterworks areas of North Belfast over several weekends and have found large groups of youths.

Sergeant Brian Caskey, from the York Road Neighbourhood Policing Team, warned that those found carrying the weapons could face a six months prison sentence or a fine of £5000.

“The fact is that carrying a weapon can have disastrous results not only for the victim but for the offender who will have to deal with the burden of a criminal conviction throughout the rest of their lives,” he said.

“Those who might consider carrying such a weapon should be aware that local police will carry out searches and that you stand a strong chance of getting caught.

Gerry O’Reilly, from the Community Bridges Project, said: ““These prearranged fights are organised between a few individuals who are using social media to invite others to attend and spectate.

“There are concerns that these young people are not aware of the weapons which may be present at the scene of the proposed fight site and that they are also unaware of the geography of the area which may include an interface.””

Harry Smith, who is also from the Community Bridges Project in the Tigers Bay area added: “Parents need to take responsibility regarding the whereabouts of their children and in supervising access to social networking sites.

“There are fears that should this behaviour continue that a young person may loose their life. This would have a devastating impact on communities.”