The Halloween celebrations in Mountmellick were marred last week by a night of vandalism when up to 60 youths went on the rampage in College Avenue.
A resident of College Avenue, who did not wish to be named, contacted the Leinster Express to voice his disgust with the activities of these young thugs. He said that fireworks and flares were put through people’s letterboxes, with several letterboxes blown off doors. The resident said that bangers and flares were thrown under his car when he arrived home on the night. There was also damage caused to windows when stones were thrown, and the man revealed that his own sitting room window was smashed by a lobbed coffee jar.
“I’m not the only one, my next door neighbour’s letterbox was blown off,” he said, adding that he had been told the name of the young man who had damaged his house.
The resident said that a number of houses were affected, with one neighbour having just bought a brand new door the day before, only for the letterbox to be damaged when a flare was put through it.
The resident claimed that up to 60 youths were involved, “full of drink and God only knows what else”. He estimated the age of the youths to be between 12 and 16 years in what he described as “a free for all” which started around 9pm and lasted until after 2.30am. Many of the youths concealed their identities by wearing balaclavas or masks, and wheelie bins were taken and the rubbish scattered about the street.
The resident said that when he got up the next morning, there were still youths on the nearby bridge.
The man has been living in Mountmellick for about seven and a half years, and has previously been a victim of crime when his car was damaged some time ago. He said that the biggest problem for both the community and the gardaí is what to do with the culprits, as they are all juveniles. The resident also claimed that there was only one garda on duty in the area on the night, who had to ring for assistance from gardaí in Portlaoise.
A garda spokesperson confirmed to the Leinster Express that an arrest has been made in the incident and gardaí are following a definite line of inquiry.