Youths hide in church grounds to snowball cars

YOUTHS used the sanctity of church grounds to pelt motorists with snowballs in Ballymoney last Tuesday night.

Several youths were spotted crouching behind the wall of St. Patrick’s Parish Church in Queen Street to launch their attacks on unsuspecting motorists - some of whom got the fright of their lives.

The hard-packed ice and snow made the balls a formidable force and one motorist told the Times that he thought his windscreen was about to be shattered such was the impact.

He said: “I was driving along Church Street and making my way across the junction with Victoria Street and Queen Street when my windscreen was hit very hard by a snowball.

“It caused me to swerve slightly but fortunately there was nothing coming in the opposite direction otherwise there could have been an accident.

“No doubt these brave young lads thought they were having a bit of fun, but it was far from that. Their actions could have had serious consequences.”

Other motorists reported having similar experiences with one passenger saying he observed a number of youths crouching behind the wall at St. Patrick’s whose rector and church officials would have had no knowledge of what was going on nor would they have condoned it.

Snowball throwing was also reported in Ballycastle last week and the incidents have been commented on by local councillor Bill Kennedy who told the Times: “These young people think it’s a load of fun, but it isn’t and it could result in a serious incident. We have seen how items dropped from bridges and on to windscreens have resulted in fatalities and while this may be less serious it is nevertheless something that has to be stopped.”

A PSNI spokesman confirmed: “On January 22nd, police received a report of youths throwing snowballs at passing cars in the Church Street area of Ballymoney.

“While throwing snowballs may seem like a bit of a laugh, it can be an extremely dangerous thing to do, particularly if they are thrown at vehicles.

“Quite apart from the damage that could be caused to vehicles, there is a danger that a driver or passengers could be injured. There is also the potential that a snowball striking a car, bus or lorry could cause the driver to lose control and collide with other vehicles.

“We would urge parents to help prevent these sorts of incidents by knowing where their children are and warning them of the possible consequences of such behaviour.”