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Police apprehend 17 youngsters planning to go looting in Antwerp's inner city

Antwerp police have arrested 17 youngsters as they allegedly had plans to invade shops in the inner city and to cause trouble. 

Police had found out about a message on social media calling on youngsters to assemble at a certain location in order to go looting from there. Police next stepped up their presence in the area to stage extra checks. They stopped youngsters of whom they thought they could be involved, quizzing them about their intentions. 

16 youngsters were arrested and transferred to a custody centre at the Noorderlaan. All of them were aged between 12 and 16, except for one youngster who was 19. All the smartphones of the teenagers were seized, as were two butterfly knives. 

The parents of those apprehended could come to pick their children later in the evening. However, one 14-year-old will have to appear before an examining judge in connection with drugs trafficking. Another suspect, a 16-year-old  who had been arrested before the police action, is thought to be the instigator. He will have to appear before a youth court.