A stolen car was set on fire on top of a bonfire in Galliagh late last night.

Residents had been warning that children, some as young as eight, had been stockpiling pallets, stolen from local business premises over recent weeks.

They used several dozen pallets to build a makeshift bonfire at Linear Park, near the Black Paths - and are believed to have stored other pallets in neighbouring back yards.

A meeting between the Outer North Community Safety team and the statutory and housing agencies had already been planned for this afternoon to discuss the problem, before last night's events.

ONCS Chair, Martin Connolly, said: "We want this issue dealt with as soon as possible. We are working with all the agencies concerned to ensure that these agencies meet their responsibilities. And it is important that they step up to the mark.

"The age group that is involved is very young, and last year we saw that this event was accompanied by considerable anti-social behavior."

Sinn Fein councillor Caoimhe McKnight said: "These actions have to  be completely and utterly condemned. The people in this community do not want and do not need this."

The SDLP's Brian Tierney commented: "The people in this area put up with similar issues last year in the lead up to Bonfire Night. This cannot be allowed to happen from now until bonfire this year.

"As chair Council's Bonfire Working Group, which is looking at ways to change bonfires, I will continue to call on all agencies to ensure that materials are not stored on their land but also seek to work with young people to encourage more positive behaviors."

On Saturday night past, children are said to have used ladders to enter one Skeoge business, which they then ransacked for pallets and trollies.

At one stage, the children - some of whom were wearing masks and had their hoods up - caused a traffic tailback, as they transported their stolen materials.

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