Call for action to help kids at drinking den

The aftermath of the scene at Castle Lane Lurgan after a gang of 200 youths were dispersed by police
The aftermath of the scene at Castle Lane Lurgan after a gang of 200 youths were dispersed by police

Calls for more action from police and community groups to tackle the growing drinking and drugs den problem in Castle Lane have been made.

A local resident who witnessed children gathering at waste ground off Castle Lane last weekend said it is a regular problem.

Ally (who asked us not to reveal her surname), said the teenagers gather close to the public toilets every Friday and Saturday night, although last weekend’s gang of around 200 was unusual.

Police issued photos of the drugs paraphernalia and debris left by the gang which was eventually dispersed. A number of drunk children were taken home to their parents by officers.

Ally said around 30 gather every Friday and Saturday night and late into the night the screaming, shouting and disturbances start.

The woman said she is too scared to get involved and described the teenagers as ‘a bit strange’. She believes many of them are off their heads on drugs.

“One night there was a wee girl who looked like she was about to jump out in front of a car,” she said.

She also recalled hearing what she thought was a brutal fight among the youngsters.

Ally said local residents are finding it very annoying and would like the police to make more patrols and disperse the gangs. However, she said it is not that long since she was a teenager and realises that there is not a lot for young people to do in the town.

She said the waste ground at Castle Lane was an obvious place for young people to hide and drink and take drugs: “Their parents should make more of an effort to find out where their children are,”

She also called on community groups and Christian organisations to be more proactive at the weekends to engage with young people.

“They should be out as well as the police to find out how these young people are and if they are safe,” she said.

“I wouldn’t want them to be intimidated or scared. There should be some people out there looking out for them,” said Ally.