Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA and Party Leader, has called on the community to help stamp out the any threat to livestock from “young, irresponsible thugs throwing fireworks at farm animals during the Halloween period”
Mr Swann, a Past President of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, added: "Police have reported that they have had numerous reports on social media in relation to the possession and misuse of fireworks at the bus station on Galgorm Road in Ballymena.
“The police are equally clear that possession of fireworks without a licence is illegal. Letting them off in public is illegal. Bangers are illegal.
“Likewise, the Police have provided reassurance that they are taking this seriously and have assigned resources to deal with it.
“The entire community, both urban and rural, needs to remain on alert because of the threat from fireworks in the countryside.
“With Halloween approaching, there still unfortunately remains the threat from large volumes of often illegal fireworks in the countryside.
“These illegal fireworks, and especially the loud banger types, still pose a considerable threat to farm livestock.
“In my capacity as Constituency MLA, I have welcomed a past seizure by the police in Ballymena of an amount of illegal fireworks which could have caused injury not just to others but also to the users.
“I appeal to the community that if they have any knowledge of these types of attacks to give the information as soon as possible to the police so that these people can be brought before the courts and face the due process of the law.
“I also appeal to parents to ensure they know that their children are doing. And as a former member of the Stormont Agriculture Committee, I strongly condemn these attacks on live stock as they are an open attack on the farmer’s livelihood and assets.
“In past times, too, human life was put at considerable risk when young hoods threw fireworks into a church hall where a youth group was meeting in my own home village of Kells and Connor in North Antrim.
“As a community, we have a moral duty to assist the police and the courts in eradicating the threats to life and physical attacks from these hoods,” said Assemblyman Swann.