Northern Ireland

Masked men with handgun threaten young group in Strabane

The chairman of Strabane District Council has said that an incident involving an armed gang who threatened young people in the town was 'not the way to deal with problems'.

Police said four masked men approached the group at a playpark at Ballycolman estate. It happened shortly before midnight on Saturday.

One of the men pointed a handgun into the air and the youths were told to get out of the area.

No shots were fired.

The chairman, Sinn Fein councillor Brian McMahon, said a group of young people had been a "plague" on the town in recent weeks, but threats were not the way to deal with the issue.

He also suggested that a republican group may have been behind the threats.

"You could have seen this coming," he said.

"There had been an article in the local paper about an organisation called Republican Action Against Drugs.

"This organisation doesn't represent anybody in the community and the activities that they participate in are also anti-community activities.

"There has to be more practical ways of dealing with this, of engaging with young people, rather than threatening them."