Published Tuesday, 16 October 2012
The boy has admitted taking part in the Ardoyne riots on the Twelfth of July. (© Pacemaker)
The 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named because of his age, has already been sentenced after admitting riotous assembly, criminal damage and arson with intent to endanger life in Ardoyne.
"I didn't have a plan, but it's just the Twelfth of July - every year it happens. I had a bit of a thought in my head that there would have been rioting," the teen told UTV Live Tonight.
"I felt like I fitted in with the crowd. If I didn't do it, I would have felt left out. I wasn't thinking (that it could have hurt someone) at the time."
As soon as his parents found out where he was, they drove to the scene of the rioting and dragged him home - ashamed and disappointed that he had been involved.
I told him I was disgusted with him for being up there.
Teen rioter's mum
His mum found herself right at the centre of the violence, with water cannons being used by police to try to bring the situation under control.
"I just battled through the crowd and I went straight over and grabbed him," she told UTV, adding that she feels more parents should do the exact same thing.
"I trailed the mask off him, threw it on the ground and trailed him home."
The boy's dad added that there were other parents standing around who had to know what their children were doing, but that he was disgusted to find that his son had been involved.
"I thought I brought him up better than that. I was disgusted with what he'd done, and by the fact that I had to go out and face other people knowing what he'd done," he said.
The boy now says he knows what he did was wrong and has apologised to his parents, to police in a face-to-face meeting, and to local residents in a letter.
While he may have escaped a custodial sentence in favour of community service, he's still left facing up to the consequences of his actions - and a future with a criminal record.
It's not worth it. If you think you're not going to get caught ... You might not get caught at the time but, a week or two later, you could get a knock at the door.
"I wanted to travel the world but I know now that, because I have a criminal record, I can't go to certain countries," he said.
"And the job that I wanted, I won't be able to get because of the criminal record."
The problem of teenagers becoming involved in rioting goes beyond one case and affects all sides of the community.
Some are even younger than the boy who spoke to UTV.
The youngest person charged this year in relation to violence in Ardoyne on the Twelfth was just 13, while the youngest person charged over serious disorder at Carlisle Circus last month was 14.
That leaves law makers and enforcers, youth workers and community figures with a tough battle still ahead, as they try to discourage new generations from resorting to violence in old disputes.
While some people believe tougher sentences would act as a stronger deterrent, others argue that jail can turn young offenders into career criminals.
© UTV News