Northern Ireland

Belfast street fights: Teens arrested after two nights of disturbances

Belfast city centre
Image caption Police were called to deal with fights in the streets around Belfast's main shopping area during consecutive nights at the weekend

Police intervened to stop large gangs of teenagers who had gathered to fight in Belfast city centre at the weekend.

On Saturday night, police said a crowd of about 100 people who "appeared to be gathering for a fight" moved from Oxford Street to Castle Place.

Two boys aged 15 and 16 were arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour and criminal damage. A vehicle was damaged.

The previous night, two girls aged 14 and 15 were cautioned following a report of a fight on Rosemary Street.

'Squaring up'

The trouble began just before 22:45 GMT on Friday, when police received a report that a large group of youths had gathered in Royal Avenue, the city's main shopping area.

A police spokesperson said individuals were reportedly "squaring up" to each other, before the crowd moved and a fight was reported on Rosemary Street.

Two girls aged 14 and 15 were cautioned on Friday night for disorderly behaviour.

Police spoke to their parents and the pair were referred to social services and youth diversion officers.

The following night, officers were deployed to the city centre shortly before 22:30 GMT due to the report of a 100-strong crowd gathering for a fight.

'Criminal record'

A vehicle was damaged in Castle Street during the incident.

Two boys aged 15 and 16 were arrested. The 15-year-old has been reported to the Public Prosecution Service.

Ch Insp Robert Murdie urged parents to "make sure they know where their children are".

"Getting caught up in this type of criminal behaviour can result in a criminal record which is damaging to a young person's future," he said.