Northern Ireland news

Banbridge device could have been fatal, warn police

Two incendiary devices were placed under separate cars outside a home in Banbridge, County Down 

A fire bomb which ignited underneath a vehicle in Banbridge could have caused fatalities, police have said.

The crude incendiary device was placed in the driveway of a house in a quiet residential part of Banbridge, Co Down. A second at the same property did not ignite.

Police believe a bottle filled with flammable liquid and wrapped in fire-lighter was used. The family ran outside seeking help, and quick-thinking neighbours helped prevent the blaze in the empty car from spreading using a garden hose.

A motive is still under investigation but detectives are not aware of any paramilitary involvement.

PSNI Sergeant Billy Stewart said: "The actions of the family and indeed the residents have averted what could have been a disaster last night - as simple and as stark as that."

The front of the car was badly burned, blackened and bent. A child's mountain bike lay abandoned beside it outside the cream-coloured, two-storey family home.

It is understood children, some young, were in the house when the car was set alight shortly before 3am on Friday in Larchwood Court.

Neighbours responded quickly and, when moving another car, discovered a second device underneath it which did not ignite.

In the early hours of Tuesday, another vehicle had been set alight in the area but there is no information to suggest they are linked, Sgt Stewart added.

He said people were very lucky not to have been killed.

"It is very terrifying for the family and indeed the neighbours, this is a very quiet residential area of Banbridge and it is not something we are used to here so everybody concerned is very traumatised in relation to the incident.

"It could be considered as lethal, yes."

Ulster Unionist Assembly member Joanne Dobson said such attacks must stop before someone is killed.

"Because of the callous disregard for life shown by those responsible, there could have been a very different scene in Banbridge this morning."

SDLP Assembly member Dolores Kelly said it was unacceptable behaviour.

"Their actions have no place in our society," she said.

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