'Children as young as six involved in disorder'

Police say children as young as six were involved in disorder in the Creggan area of Londonderry.

Petrol bombs, masonry and fireworks were thrown at officers during a security alert in Southway on Tuesday night.

It began after police attending a sudden death in nearby Magowan Park found a suspect device, which was later declared an elaborate hoax.

Derry’s top police officer Ch Supt Gillian Kearney described the trouble as “senseless”.

PSNI Ch Supt Gillian Kearney , dressed in uniform, stands i front of a police car
PSNI Ch Supt Gillian Kearney said the trouble was senseless [BBC]

A 36-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of riotous behaviour.

“That disorder occurred as officers were dealing with such a sensitive incident is shameful,” Ch Supt Kearney said.

"There are reports of children as young as six and seven years old being involved.

"This is child criminal exploitation.

"It also serves to damage local communities and divert our resources away from dealing with the things that matter most".

Those involved left the area at around midnight, police said.

There are no reports of injuries some police vehicles were damaged.

bricks and other debris lies across Southway, a road in the Creggan estate in Derry, where police officers were attacked. It is early morning, the morning after the attack on officers
Masonry and petrol bombs were thrown at police vehicles on Southway [BBC]

'Anger in the local community'

Ch Supt Kearney said officers would not be deterred from carrying out their duties.

“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,” she said.

"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”.

Police have asked for anyone with information to come forward.