East Londonderry MLA Maurice Bradley has welcomed a police organisation targeting anti-social behaviour in Coleraine town centre at the weekend.
Bradley has met several times with community police, business owners and the PSNI District Commander, Chief Inspector Magee, in a bid to resolve the issue, he said: “It is pleasing that the police are taking action on these young people.
“However, the most worrying development here is that there were drugs paraphernalia, a knife and alcohol found as a result of the police operation.
“Disturbingly some of those involved are as young as eleven.
“As a parent and grandparent, the fact that drugs and alcohol seem to be freely available within our community is concerning.
“It is my understanding that parents from as far away as Articlave and Portrush are dropping their children off to enable them to run amok in the town centre.
“Surely parents have a responsibility to know where their children are, and what potential dangers they are putting themselves in.
“I would again make an appeal to parents – do you know where your children are, do you want them to have a criminal record, a record which could hamper employment and education in later years?”
The MLA went on: “I have been advised by the PSNI that these operations will continue, this is reassuring for the residents in the town centre who have been tormented by these youths for month.
“Many of these residents, who are elderly, are living in fear and have felt for some time that their calls have fallen on deaf ears.”