Hoods take over flats once again

By Tiarnán Ó Muilleoir

THIS WAS THE scene following another weekend bender by the ‘Divis Hoods’, with the hallways of one of the remaining flats in Ross Street plastered in outrageous graffiti.

Along with the graffiti, which aims vitriol at paramilitaries and the PSNI, the hallways of the complex were left strewn with litter.

One resident told the Andersonstown News: “The graffiti is horrible, explicit, and it covers every surface of the halls and lobby. Every weekend we are tortured and intimidated by these hoods and it needs to stop.”

This paper has regularly reported on the activities of the ‘DHLA’ or Divis Hoods Liberation Army, a gang of young people in the lower Falls and Divis who terrorise residents with car crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Ross Street flats in particular have become a notorious stomping ground for the gang. Several years ago a number of the flats were demolished and replaced by new family housing.

However, thugs regularly break into the remaining flats, drink in the communal areas, verbally and physically abuse terrified residents and vandalise the flats and surrounding area.

There are fears in the area as the holidays approach that anti-social behaviour could worsen as well-known hoods are released on Christmas parole. Last year during the same period cars were raced up and down the Falls Road, with gloating footage posted on social media sites.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Gerard Diver of the Falls Residents’ Association/ Cumann Áitritheoirí na bhFál, said the most recent bout of anti-social activity was “unacceptable” and added that “a small group of hoods appear to be intent on wrecking their own area”.

“I viewed the graffiti today with residents and it’s a disgrace,” he said. “We are doing our best to attract funding for development and different projects in the lower Falls and these sort of acts run contrary to any effort to improve things for the community.”

Following on from the weekend, on Tuesday a 16-year-old male was arrested in Ross Street following a robbery that occurred at commercial premises in Lanark Way. The three males involved in the robbery made off in a stolen car in the direction of the Falls Road, where their car collided with several other vehicles.

The car was found on fire in Ross Street just after 5.55pm and the youth arrested has since been charged with robbery and allowing himself to be carried. Detective Sergeant Kenneth Leckey appealed for information. “I would ask anyone who knows anything about this incident to contact CID at Tennent Street station on the non-emergency number 101.”

Editorial, page 20

 

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