A CHILD could be killed if something is not done to stop gangs of teenagers roaming Newtownards meting out vicious beatings, it is feared.
The gangs, described as large as 25 and including an 11 year-old, have been captured on video committing serious assaults on teenagers as young as 14.
The group has been sharing their sickening violence online, leaving many of their identities clearly visible.
It has been claimed that once they home in on a vulnerable target, they phone their friends, video the beating then post it on social media platforms, including Snapchat.
The young people are heard to call out ‘Action’ before punches are thrown, to ensure the nauseating assaults are captured on video.
The gang is understood to include a number of pupils at three named local secondary and grammar schools, who were understood to be posting at least one beating per day on Snapchat.
The number of chlidren who have been subjected to the terror is therefore thought to run into the high double figures, having gone on unchecked for at least six weeks, according to some reports.
Many families have decided not to report an attack on their children for fear of further reprisals, in the streets, on school buses and at school.
Not only are the young people targeting children their own age, they have even tried to ‘jump’ a woman who was out walking her dog, according to one witness, but she was saved by a passing motorist.
Frightened parents are now calling on the PSNI to act more decisively to protect their children from the horrendous violence being inflicting on so many young people.
The relative of one young person who was beaten has described his face afterwards as ‘a total mess’ and called on the police to do more.
Superintendent Johnston McDowell, the borough’s most senior police commander, said the PSNI has the resources to deal with the problem and he called for the help of parents and schools in tackling the issue.
The police have been supported by local councillor Steven Irvine, who said the PSNI have been trying hard to deal with the young people. But Mr Irvine, who said in many years as a youth workers he has never seen anything as bad, said many of the young people concerned just don’t seem to care.