SHOCK AT BEACH ATTACK

Police in Coleraine are appealing for witnesses, following the report of an assault at East Strand beach in Portrush on Saturday evening (May 15).

Monday, 17th May 2021, 3:23 pm

Inspector Stephen McCafferty said: “Four teenage boys were on the East Strand beach around 7.30pm.

“They were approached by a group of between 30 and 50 other young people who suggested they fight.

“When the four boys refused and turned away, they were set upon by members of the larger group.

“Three were punched in the face.

“One sustained a cut above his eye, another fell to the ground and was beaten around the head with what we believe was possibly a hammer or other metal object.

“The third was then pushed into the sea and an attempt made to hold his head under the water.

“Another of the friends was hit by a bottle on the shoulder.

“This was an unprovoked and vicious attack on four young people and we are appealing to anyone who saw what happened to get in touch with police.

“We believe the incident took place about halfway along East Strand beach.

“The perpetrators were said to be wearing dark tracksuits and they spoke with Belfast, Ballymena and Derry accents.

“Anyone with any information should call police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting reference number 1723 of 15/5/21, or submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/. “You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/

SDLP East Derry MLA Cara Hunter has expressed her shock at the attack.

She siad: “I am horrified and utterly condemn this behaviour. My thoughts are with those young people who have been hurt. It must have been an absolutely terrifying experience for them.

“I have real concern about the ongoing antisocial behaviour in the North Coast over these past few months. This cannot continue and I will be contacting police on the matter.”

East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has described the attack as “vicious and cowardly”.

“The brutal nature of this attack was shocking,” Ms Sugden said. “Fists, bottles and possibly a hammer were used, and one of the young men had his head held under water.

“That this attack did not result in even more serious injuries is just pure luck. This large group of teenagers were clearly set on causing injury, or worse, to whoever they came across.

“The police believe those responsible for this attack had Belfast, Derry and Ballymena accents. They were also wearing dark coloured tracksuits.

“I would strongly urge anyone with any information to contact the police on 101.”