'Children as young as six and seven years old' involved in 'senseless disorder' last night in the Creggan area of Londonderrry

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'Children as young as six and seven years old' were last night involved in 'senseless disorder' in the Creggan area of Londonderry, PSNI have reported.

A statement issued by the PSNI this morning says that the disorder unfolded following the discovery of a suspicious device at around 7.45pm in Southway.

Police had been in the area yesterday afternoon dealing with a sudden death in Magowan Park.

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As officers were conducting enquiries in relation to this, they made the discovery.

Man throwing a petrol bombMan throwing a petrol bomb
Man throwing a petrol bomb

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.

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A 36-year-old man arrested last night on suspicion of riotous behaviour remains in custody at this time.

Derry City & Strabane Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Gillian Kearney said: "The disorder that developed was utterly senseless. That disorder occurred as officers were dealing with such a sensitive incident is shameful.

"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.

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“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, no injuries to police officers have been reported at this time.

Chief Superintendent Kearney added: "I want to reassure the community my officers will be out today working to remove drugs from the streets, responding to domestic abuse calls and protecting communities from those who seek to cause harm to the most vulnerable.

"I want to commend the officers involved last night."

An investigation is underway and anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting reference 1510 of 09/07/24. Alternatively, you can submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org