Dark, dingy, dangerous and only a matter of time before someone is killed.
Those are the words of Lord Mayor Darryn Causby following a brutal attack on two teenage boys at Hoy’s Meadow in Portadown.
A gang of around 20 people attacked the teenagers (aged 15 and 19) during what police have described as a robbery.
Both boys had their mobile phones stolen. They also suffered facial injuries which required medical treatment.
A 16-year-old girl and two men aged 20 and 25 were arrested. They were released on bail pending further enquiries.
The incident happened at around 5pm on Saturday on a gravel area near Foundry Street.
Councillor Causby said it is only a matter of time before someone is badly injured or killed.
He described the council-owned property as a well- known drinking and drugs den.
He said he will be asking for a meeting of councillors to get CCTV and lighting installed in a bid to thwart illegal activity.
The Mayor said it was a magnet for youngsters, attracting dozens upon dozens of teenagers.
“It is dark and dingy and very dangerous,” he said.
Cllr Causby said with the water levels of the Bann extremely high, and with a pond also in the vicinity, the potential for someone to be seriously injured is very real.
“It is very dangerous. Someone could die,” he warned.
Inspector Duncan McBain said, “We conduct regular patrols of this area and have encountered groups of youths and have also dealt with antisocial behaviour. When we find young people involved in antisocial behaviour we will contact their parents, in some cases bring them home and in some instances pass their details to the youth diversion officer. If antisocial behaviour escalates to include criminal offences such as criminal damage or assault, the young people involved can find themselves facing charges.
“We do our utmost to tackle antisocial behaviour and we encourage local communities to report all incidents. However, we can only play our small part in what is a wider societal issue.
“We work with schools, community and youth groups to educate young people about the consequences of antisocial behaviour and the activities that can be viewed as antisocial behaviour.
“I would ask parents to speak to their children about this issue also. In relation to Hoy’s Meadow, the area is poorly lit and recent flooding has made the landscape particularly hazardous.
“I am sure no parent wants their child put at risk. Parents should also warn their children about the dangers of being influenced by older youths, especially in relation to alcohol and drugs.”