Children rioters recruited by SMS
September 11th, 2005

The Belfast Telegraph reports on a growing phenomen in North Belfast, recreational rioting by teenagers and children, some as young as 5, recruited in the playground by text messaging.

“There is nothing new in paramilitaries getting children to do their dirty work for them. However, the extreme youth of those caught on camera hurling stones in woodvale this week shocked police and parents alike.

From republicans in the Ardoyne to loyalists in the Shankill, a consistent factor in public disorder situations this summer is that children take part in the violence while adults stand watching and smoking cigarettes.

Another sinister twist is the discovery by police of text messages being distributed on mobile phones in school playgrounds. The grim messages read ‘R U up for a riot 2 nite?’ This led Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland to warn that children may be becoming drawn into “recreational rioting”.


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