LOCAL politicians have hit out at those responsible for a number of arson attacks in the borough in recent days.
Three vehicles were destroyed following fires in the early hours of Saturday.
A white Mercedes van was reported to have been set alight in the Avondale area at 6.55am.
Later at 7.30am, a blue Vauxhall Meriva was also set on fire nearby.
Police also received a report of a blue Ford Ka which was set alight in The Isles area at 6.40am.
All the vehicles were extensively damaged.
Police are also investigating a separate report that a white Mini was set alight in a car park at the Top of the Town bar at 2.50am on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the early hours of Friday a nursery and a nearby car was set alight during a burglary in the Springfarm Road.
It is not known if anything was taken but the vehicle was destroyed.
A police spokesperson confirmed detectives are “investigating a possible link at this stage”.
They have also appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
Paul Madden, who has lived in the area for 25 years, had his car gutted and the garage of his home set on fire.
He says his family have been left very upset.
“Tears came to the eye you know, because we didn’t need this sort of thing,” he told UTV.
He added: “My young son, who has Down’s syndrome, is very upset. We need the car to take him out every day of the week.
“It’s left us not very happy; you ask questions about why? Why did it come to us.”
Local Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly said he was outraged by “these acts of mindless thuggery”. “To cause such damage to the property of a nursery is beyond belief. This premises provides care for young children in the Springfarm area and offers support to local families,” Cllr. Kelly said.
He added: “I would appeal for anyone with information relating to these incidents to go to the PSNI immediately so the perpetrators can be brought before the courts and face the full rigour of the law.”
Similar sentiments were shared by the UUP’s Drew Ritchie who condemned the attacks and said those responsible must be brought to account.
“The trauma and devastation to the families is hard to imagine, we are very fortunate no serious injuries were inflicted and I am sure the local communities will support and help them,” Alderman Ritchie said.
He added: “I would ask the PSNI to ensure sufficient resources are available to solve these crimes and prevent a repeat of these episodes.”
Fellow UUP councillor Adrian Watson described the attacks as “unjustified vandalism and criminal damage”.
He said two of the families targeted were elderly and have lived in the area for many years.
“They have been carried out on totally innocent people, people who were in their beds, totally unaware,” he said.
He added: “Thankfully a good Samaritan passing by raised the alarm and got these people out of their beds.
“Her actions potentially saved lives, because the flames at that stage had engulfed a garage at a house, at the other dwelling the flames were coming on to the roof of their home.”
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Weather for Antrim
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North west