DISTURBING clips of young people fighting in public places in Banbridge and Dromore have now been removed from video sharing websites.
The images caused outrage after the Leader reported last week that youngsters across the district had been involved in violent brawls in Linenhall Street, Banbridge, and Dromore Park - and had then shared their antics on the internet.
Police refused to comment on their removal but last week Constable Colin McDonnell of Banbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team condemned the actions of the young people involved, as did principal of Dromore High School, Mr John Wilkinson.
The footage showed large crowds observing adolescents and teenagers punching and kicking each other, with one fight tagged ‘Banbridge vs Dromore’ attracting more than 3,000 hits since it was uploaded the previous week.
Constable McDonnell said, “These fights may seem like fun or recreation to the young people involved, but they need to take a long look at their actions and where they might take them.
“Becoming involved in fights can result in causing serious injury or even death - just one punch or kick can kill.”
Mr Wilkinson also warned young people to put an immediate stop to such dangerous activities - some of which he described as “grand theatre” while others were “unbelieveable in their savery and ferocity”.
Commenting on the worrying new youth trend, local councillor Jim McElroy said he was glad the videos had now been removed and he urged parents to speak to their children about the dangers of becoming involved in fights or antisocial behaviour.
“It is important that parents speak to their children and are aware of where they are going and what they are doing,” he said. “The police advise parents to monitor their social network use and this is a vital means of making sure this sort of behaviour does not become commonplace and ultimately result in tragedy.”
And while there have no reports of weapons in use, police warned that anyone choosing to carry a weapon or become involved in the fights would be under investigation and threat of arrest