A CROWD of up to 50 people attacked a fire crew sent to investigate reports of a fire lit at a disused factory at Brookfield last week, in what police say is a rare occurrence of group violence in the area.
While no officers were injured during the trouble, which began just after 9pm on Wednesday night and flared up again around 10.30pm, the incident has sparked widespread shock and disgust especially at the age of those involved.
A 15-year-old girl was arrested shortly after the riot, while a 16-year-old girl was arrested over the weekend. Both are set to appear in court on Monday, August 20.
Residents of the Brookfield and Edenderry areas spoke to the Leader the day after the trouble, when ashes and charred timber were all that remained of the previous night’s violence.
In their view there is a “bad element” living in the area and, when mixed with those coming from outside the town, there was always going to be trouble.
One 35-year-old mother said she heard the police helicopter that evening and wondered what was going on.
“There is always something going on in this area,” she said. “The next day I heard people saying they saw ones being dropped off. There are decent people living round here and they don’t need this.
“Police know who these people are and they need to make sure they get them and charge them with whatever they’ve done. They need to be caught.”
Another person contacted the Leader to say they were unhappy with the police response, claiming just one police car and two officers arrived at the first incident on Wednesday.
Later that night it was reported that a group of between 20 and 30 people formed a makeshift burning barricade across the Scarva Road.
Responding to the claims police said, “As is normal procedure, police worked in a co-ordinated manner and arrived at the scene of both occasions last night within minutes of it becoming clear that they were required.
“The situation was monitored from the initial report at 22:06 and the police helicopter was also deployed before the arrival of police on the ground. Initially one vehicle attended the disturbance and was assisted by other patrols. Fortunately on both occasions no one was hurt.
“The fault for the disorder lies solely with those who carried it out and the focus of our officers will remain on liaising with our community and their representatives to bring them to justice.”
At the time of going to print five people had been arrested in relation to the incident. Four of those are due in court this month while one 28-year-old man was released on bail pending further enquiries.