Calls to step up security patrols after man threatened with knife at NI beauty spot
An appeal to step up security patrols has been made after a man was threatened with a knife while at a popular NI beauty spot with his wife.
The man, who had been keeping an eye on his wife swimming in Lough Neagh at Oxford Island, was approached by a knife-weilding teenager.
Another man, who used to be a rugby player, wrestled the youth to the ground on a jetty until police arrived.
SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden, who lives close to Lough Neagh, said he had spoken to the victim who had praised the quick action of the member of the public and the quick response of the PSNI.
Cllr McAlinden said there had been similar anti-social issues in parks across the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area. “There are concerns it’s going to get worse as summer approaches.”
Eye witnesses said a number of swimmers belonging to the Lough Neagh Monster Dunkers had been in the water.
A husband of one of the swimmers was keeping an eye on his wife from the jetty when the youth approached him.
A friend of the victim said: “The guy swung the knife at his chest and gut area and tried to slash him.
“Thank God someone wrestled the youth to the ground until police came,” he said, adding that the victim had to get into his car and drive around the corner to call the police.
He said there had been a problem with jet skis, many of whom had been driving recklessly on the Lough over the past two weekends at Oxford Island.
“The victim’s wife went and swam around the corner where the wooden jetty is as she couldn’t swim in her usual spot at the slipway behind the Discovery Centre because of jet skis.
“The past two weekends at Oxford island swimmers had to be evacuated and dozens didn’t enter the water because of reckless jet skiers.
“It’s getting very serious and jet ski users are staging videos saying they getting abused by swimmers as they are being recorded travelling at speed recklessly.
“Someone is going to be killed,” said the victim’s friend.
He praised the work of Cllr Declan McAlinden. “He is leading the way on trying to get a safe swim zone and his work for the area should be applauded.”
A PSNI spokesperson said: “A 15-year-old male was arrested following a report of an incident which occurred at the Oxford Island area of Lurgan yesterday afternoon (Sunday 25th April) at around 5:30pm.
“The male, who arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon, was subsequently street bailed following the incident.”
SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden said: “Oxford island is becoming more popular now with many families and open water swimmers taking advantage of the fantastic facilities and warm weather.
“It also, sadly is becoming a venue for a minority of young people who are using it as a venue to drink and basically cause a nuisance for others.
“On Sunday though it took a more sinister twist when a member of the public was approached by a youth with a knife in his possession.
“The man was there with his wife who was swimming in the Lough along with many others when the youth approached him while he was getting equipment from his car boot.
“Luckily for the man, the quick reactions from a member of the public who seen the youth with the knife and wrestled him to the ground, led to him being later apprehended by the PSNI.
“In recent weeks there has been similar antisocial issues in our local parks in the borough and there are concerns it’s going to get worse as summer approaches.
“This has to be dealt with as our parks and open spaces have never been busier with many families and individuals using them especially during this last year and are suppose to be a safe place to go.
“This is totally unacceptable and I’ve asked council officers to step up security patrols in the area to reassure members of the public using our facilities.
“Having spoken to the gentleman involved he praised the quick reaction from the member of the public who wrestled the youth to the ground and the PSNI for their swift response.”
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