Belfast children as young as 12 years old have been arrested in recent weeks for engaging in sectarian clashes arranged online.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has seen a surge in confrontations between youths from south and east Belfast, and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are playing a significant role.

In the past four weeks, 21 young people have been arrested. Just last weekend, a 12-year-old, a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old from rival factions were arrested in connection with an incident in Ormeau Park.

Chief Inspector Robert Murdie told the Belfast Telegraph that the PSNI is “working with Belfast City Council and there will be an increased presence of police and park wardens in the area. Police are also working with local community groups to highlight the impact that a criminal record can have on an individual."

He warned all those involved in arranging and participating in the fights that they are putting their futures in jeopardy.