Northern Ireland

Rathcoole riots cost £78,910 to police

Burning bus in Rathcoole
Image caption Trouble erupted in the Rathcoole estate last month

Almost £80,000 was spent policing two nights of rioting in Newtownabbey in October.

Cars and buses were burned out and police attacked during disturbances in and around the Rathcoole estate on 25 and 26 October.

The BBC has learned that the cost of the police operation during the trouble was £78,910.

The trouble followed police raids connected to an investigation into UVF crimes carried out in north Belfast.

Police blamed the UVF for orchestrating the rioting, which at its height involved about 200 youths.

On the first night a bus driver was assaulted, suffering a broken nose - as the bus he was driving was hijacked. It was then set alight.

Six cars were also hijacked and burned out. Police officers had to be drafted in from across Northern Ireland to help quell the rioters.

The following night, police were more prepared, but the trouble flared up again. A woman bus driver was taken out of her bus, which was was burned.

Translink then took the decision not to run services through the Rathcoole area in the evening. The company said the destroyed buses cost in excess of £400,000.

The trouble led to a renewed focus on the UVF and questions were raised about the paramilitary group's ceasefire.

So far, there have been just six arrests in connection with the trouble at Rathcoole. Only one person has faced any charges - a 16-year-old boy.

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