Four-year-old child becomes victim of catapult attack as police arrest 14-year-old in connection with spate of attacks

A 14-year-old boy has been arrested after a spate of catapult attacks across Sunderland, including one in which a four-year-old girl narrowly escaped serious injury.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 4:55 am

Police are tackling escalating anti-social behaviour across the west of the city, which has involved a group of teenagers firing rocks at people, houses and animals.

Friday, May 21, saw two separate victims including a four-year-old girl who almost suffered serious injuries as the windows of a house and a bus were smashed – sending glass hurtling through the air.

A 14-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the spate, while a second male, 15, will be interviewed under caution.

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PC Neil Armstrong with one of the catapults seized

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As schools prepare to close for the half-term holiday, Inspector Marie Pollock has warned those involved face criminal repercussions should their irresponsible actions continue: “This month we have received a range of reports of anti-social behaviour - from large groups gathering and intimidating residents to using catapults to scare ducks, smash bus windows and attack people’s houses,” she said.

“So far, we have seized two catapults and a BB gun associated with the disorder, as well as arrested one teenager and identified another who will be interviewed in the coming days.

“We believe the bulk of this anti-social behaviour is being committed by one group. Their offending started around Barnes Park and has since moved to Thorney Close, Grindon and South Hylton.

“They all know who they are – and it’s only a matter of time before we do too. We’ve already identified a number of suspects and they can expect knock on their door very soon.”

Insp Pollock thanked the overwhelming majority of young people who continue to act responsibly and make a positive difference in their community: “We have targeted patrols planned and would ask young people to act responsibly – or face possible criminal action.

We would also ask parents to know where your children are heading and work with us to ensure our city remains a safe place to live and work.”

Anyone who sees anti-social behaviour taking place or who is a victim of crime is asked to report it via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the force website or by calling 101.

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